China allows Switzerland's UBS to control local securities business

China allows UBS to control local securities business

China allows Switzerland's UBS to control local securities business

USB, which now owns about 25 percent of shares in the USB Securities Co Ltd joint venture, said in a statement that it would acquire stakes from China Guodian Capital Holdings Ltd (國電資本控股) and COFCO Group (中糧國際).

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has approved UBS Group to take a majority stake in its Chinese securities joint venture (JV), making it the first foreign bank to do so following the new rules announced by Beijing, last year. Ltd. will own 14.01 percent, and finally, China Guodian Capital Holdings will own 1.99 percent. The lifting of ownership rules in China have been long sought after by foreign investment banks.

Officials in April moved to make good on the pledge, immediately allowing foreign investors to take 51 percent stakes in securities firms and fund managers, with pledges set out to eventually allow full control. Ltd., from 24.99% to 51%, according to a statement (link in Chinese) released Friday by the China Securities Regulatory Commission. Lack of control over joint venture operations in China's potentially lucrative securities market resulted in difficulties in integrating mainland ventures with global operations.

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Other financial firms like Wall Street titan JP Morgan Chase and Japan's Nomura Holdings are still awaiting approval.

This week, however, two big European insurance firms received their approval for expansion in China. Allianz has been allowed to start a company fully funded by foreign capital while Axa would take full control of a joint venture.

A greater stake in UBS Securities Co. "The further opening up of China's financial sector represents great opportunities for our wealth management, investment bank and asset management businesses". Ermotti highlighted that UBS has been at the forefront of foreign investment in China since its establishment in the Asian powerhouse in 1989.

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"This is a key milestone and an important part of our China strategy".

Eugene Qian, president of UBS Securities, thanked the regulator and shareholders for giving the bank another "first".

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