Deutsche Bank and UBS Guilty of Fraud, Morgan Stanley Gets FB Penalty: Weekly Financial Biz Recap

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (NYSE:RBS) continued to have no comments Sunday night regarding speculation that the firm will see a fine of £350 million from regulators in both the United States and the United Kingdom for its role in the Libor rate-rigging affair. Reportedly, RBS was nearing a deal that would have regulators fine it more than the £290m hit on its rival Barclays following an admission of its own guilt. RBS Chief Executive Stephen Hester said at the recent pre-close trading update that he hoped there would be news on the subject prior to RBS posting its 2012 results in February.

Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), as lead underwriter for Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) initial public offering, will shell out a $5 million penalty to Massachusetts to resolve claims that its bankers improperly influenced its research analysts when the firm went public. William Galvin, the state’s chief securities regulator, charged that Morgan Stanley improperly aided Facebook in its disclosure of  sensitive financial information selectively, keeping what he calls “an unlevel playing field” between Wall Street and Main Street going.

Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF) and its subsidiaries have been upgraded at Moody’s Investors Service from Ba3 to Ba1 for senior debt. The Regions Bank was upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1 for long-term deposits and to Prime-3 from Not-Prime for short-term deposits. The bank’s financial strength rating was affirmed at D+ while its baseline credit assessment was elevated to Baa3 from Ba1. Following the rating action which began on October 3rd, the outlook is stable.

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Knowledgeable sources say that Symetra Financial (NYSE:SYA) has joined Apollo Global Management to bid for Aviva’s United States division and that the parties are in advanced discussions to purchase the unit and could reach a deal within days. Guggenheim Partners, which had previously joined with Apollo to pursue the bid for the Aviva assets, is no longer part of the group.

Two Harbors investment Corp. (AMEX:TWO) on Monday declared a quarterly dividend of 55 cents per share of common stock for the fourth quarter, payable on January 18th to common stockholders of record at the close on December 31st. The dividend is supposed to distribute the remaining REIT taxable income earned during the current year, including taxable income from Two Harbors contribution of its single family residential portfolio to Silver Bay Property Trust Corp. and also from realized gains in the residential mortgage-backed securities portfolio.