Seven funds get the nod for cross-border sales between Hong Kong and mainland China
Securities regulators of China and Hong Kong on Friday gave the go-ahead to the first batch of funds that can be sold through a cross-border sales scheme, a full six months after announcing the plan.
The approval opens a new chapter in the gradual easing of China’s capital controls, with the scheme set to allow cross-border fund sales of up to 600 billion yuan (HK$717.51 billion).
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said it has authorised four mainland Chinese funds to be sold in the city. These are China AMC Return Securities Investment Fund, GF Industry Leaders Mixed Assets Fund, HSBC Jintrust Large Cap Equity Securities Investment Fund and ICBCCS China Core Value Mixed Fund.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) also announced on its website that it has approved three Hong Kong domiciled funds – JPMorgan Asian Total Return Bond Fund, Hang Seng China H-share Index Fund and ZEAL Voyage China Fund – to be sold on the mainland market.
Launched on July 1, the scheme allows 100 Hong Kong-domiciled funds and 850 mainland Chinese funds to sell up to 300 billion yuan of products in each other’s jurisdiction. As of Friday, the SFC has received applications from 30 mainland funds while the CSRC has received 17 applications from Hong Kong funds wanting to sell on the mainland.
The two regulators had earlier promised fund managers of “speedy approval” in four to six weeks. A spokesman for the SFC said the delay was due to “technical issues”, without elaborating.
Fund managers said there were some tax issues that were sorted out only recently, which could have caused the delay.
Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, legislator for financial sector, said the delay was likely due to the stock market slump since mid-June as the CSRC has been busy stabilising the market.
Hang Seng Bank executive director Andrew Fung, however, said the delay could have been a blessing in disguise.
“The investment market sentiment is much better now than before. If the approval had come during the market rout in summer, it would be difficult to sell the funds,” he said.
Fung said Hang Seng will team up with mainland agent China Construction Bank to sell the fund.
“The mutual recognition fund scheme is a major opening up for China. It represents another major milestone for the fund industry.” Fung said. “‘Our fund size is small when compared with many mainland funds. But what is important is for us to take the first step to enter the mainland fund market,” Fung said.
Pedro Bastos, regional head, Asia-Pacific, of HSBC Global Asset Management, said the approval shows HSBC’s strength as a leading renminbi player.
“As our customers in Hong Kong continue to look to diversify their investments to include renminbi assets, HSBC will help them capture new opportunities in onshore Chinese markets by offering our expertise on the ground,” Bastos said.
Scott McLaren, head of investor service provider Brown Brothers Harriman, Hong Kong, said: “The successful implementation of mutual recognition fund scheme makes Hong Kong an even more attractive funds domicile centre. We forecast the scheme could raise up to US$400 billion over the next five to 10 years.”
The number of Hong Kong-domiciled funds have grown by 22.5 per cent annually from