Bank of China

HK finance firms question yuan scheme exclusion

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 December, 2011, 12:00am

Hong Kong stockbrokers and insurers voiced their disappointment yesterday at reports that only mainland firms will be approved to make yuan investments in mainland markets.

According to mainland media reports, the mainland's securities watchdog has approved the first batch of nine companies to take part in the yuan-denominated qualified foreign institutional investors (RQFII) scheme. The scheme will allow them to invest yuan held by Hong Kong or overseas investors in the mainland market.

The scheme has an initial quota of 20 billion yuan (HK$24.4 billion). It is part of Beijing's plan to boost the international status of the yuan.

The existing QFII scheme allows international banks and brokers to apply for quota from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to make US-dollar-denominated investments in the mainland. Local brokers and insurance companies were disappointed that the first firms chosen are based on the mainland.

Neither the watchdog nor any of the nine firms returned calls seeking confirmation of the reports.

The nine are E Fund Management, Bosera Asset Management, China Southern Fund Management, China Asset Management, Hua An Fund Management, Dacheng Fund Management, China Universal Asset Management, HFT Investment Management and Harvest Fund Management.

'This is unfair to Hong Kong brokers,' said Chim Pui-chung, the legislator representing the financial services sector. 'The government has always maintained the RQFII scheme would benefit Hong Kong but it now appears the scheme will only benefit mainland brokerage houses or fund companies.'

Chan Kin-por, the legislator for the insurance sector, said insurers would like to see the government lobby for the local insurance sector to be allowed to invest in the mainland interbank bond market.

Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, the chairman of Christfund Securities, said he wants the central government to give local brokerages more access.

'The local stock market is not performing well. It would help if we are allowed to invest in the mainland market for our clients,' he said.

Joseph Tong Tang, the executive director of Sun Hung Kai Financial, said he would like to see Hong Kong-based stock or futures brokerages operating on the mainland.

'Many investors are interested in yuan-denominated products but Hong Kong brokerages find it hard to launch these products as we do not have the RQFII quota,' Tong said.