Financial liberalization to spur foreign firms in nation |
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Financial liberalization to spur foreign firms in nation

By XIE CHUANJIAO in Qingdao, Shandong and SHI JING in Shanghai China Daily Updated: 2020-12-02
Billboards of foreign and domestic financial institutions are seen on a street in Shanghai. [Photo by Yan Daming/For China Daily]

Chinese financial sector's further opening-up will bring more opportunities for foreign financial institutions to unleash the potential of the country's wealth management market, said an Italian executive.

"Yi Tsai's business achieved positive progress after one year's operation in Qingdao, though the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on the business," said Giamberto Giraldo, general manager of Qingdao Yi Tsai Fund Distribution Co Ltd.

"The Chinese market has become more standard than ever before and it is easier for foreign financial institutions to do business here," Giraldo said.

Yi Tsai, a wholly owned subsidiary of Italy-based banking group Intesa Sanpaolo Group, was approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission to offer fund sale services one year ago.

It was the first fund distribution license given to a foreign financial institution since China decided to further open up its financial sector in 2017.

He said his company had expanded its financial services online, including an upgraded app, to satisfy the needs of clients since the outbreak of novel coronavirus.

"Our company has accumulated clients and we have good partners in China such as CITIC Funds," Giraldo said at a recent news conference.

As wealth management culture differs among countries and regions, the company does not copy Italian values completely but makes necessary adaptations to the needs of Chinese clients.

"In terms of wealth management, Chinese clients tend to pay more attention to financial products themselves or how much and when they can benefit," said Giraldo.

Wealth management in Italy and other Western countries covers many aspects for an individual, ranging from properties, children's education and philanthropy, he added.

"One of the solutions in our company is to hire local staff members and train them to enhance communication with Chinese clients," he said.

An earlier report said that Intesa Sanpaolo Group had joined hands with the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of Qingdao, Shandong province, to register Yi Tsai Securities and the application letter was accepted by the China Securities Regulatory Commission at the end of September.

"The establishment of a securities business for Yi Tsai aims to provide a more comprehensive service to our Chinese clients," Giraldo said.

"Yi Tsai is also eyeing insurance and banking in China in the future," he added.

China has accelerated its financial opening-up since 2017. Foreign securities, fund and futures firms were allowed to hold a maximum 51 percent stake in joint ventures in China, according to the regulations announced in November 2017. The limit was completely removed on April 1, which would not otherwise have been lifted till 2021.

In early May, China's top financial regulators announced removal of the quota limit on the trading of domestic securities for qualified foreign institutional investors and qualified domestic institutional investors, which will further facilitate overseas capital inflows into the A-share market.

Northbound investment-trading flow from overseas investors using the stock connect program between Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Hong Kong-has topped over 18 trillion yuan ($2.7 trillion) so far this year, which indicates that overseas investors have been responsible for some 10.15 percent of the total trading value of the A-share market. Public information from market tracker Wind Info shows that the ratio was about 2.03 percent in 2017 and 7.69 percent last year.

Speaking at the 12th Lujiazui Forum held in June in Shanghai, Yi Huiman, chairman of the CSRC, said that openness is the fundamental feature of the modern economic structure and a mature financial market. The CSRC will advance the two-way opening-up of the Chinese capital market, Yi said.

"Investors from different countries and regions are welcome to invest and participate in the Chinese market more extensively and deeply. Therefore, a win-win situation will be created and the global economy and finance can better integrate, which will translate into sustained development," he said.

Guo Shuqing, Party secretary of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said at the forum that Chinese and foreign financial institutions must work together on product design, equity investment, corporate governance and talent training to facilitate the further opening-up of the Chinese capital market.