Beijing has approved three more brokerages to set up mutual funds for overseas equity investments in a move to give more local investors access to global stock markets.
Everbright Securities, Orient Securities and Huatai Securities said they received the go-ahead from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to embark on the qualified domestic institutional investor scheme, joining the fray with banks and fund managers in pooling investors' cash to buy overseas shares.
But analysts predicted investors would be lukewarm to brokerages' QDII products amid the bearish sentiment on the global markets.
Investors were likely to shy away because of the woeful performance of QDII products run by fund management firms, they said.
'The regulators are taking a gradual step in directing money outflow, but brokerages may not be able to attract a massive amount of money since existing QDII funds proved to be unsuccessful,' said Zhou Liang, Lipper's China research head.
To date, Beijing has approved seven brokerages for QDII funds, but most cannot sell related products until they obtain a quota on the amount of foreign currencies for overseas investment.
In August, China International Capital Corp, the first securities firm approved to sell QDII funds, received a US$5 billion quota.
Beijing took an initial step to ease its huge foreign exchange reserves by introducing the QDII scheme in 2006 when it picked select banks in a trial programme.
In mid-2007, it expanded the scheme, letting fund managers and more banks set up overseas-equity investment funds.
Jing Ulrich, JP Morgan's chairman for China equities, expected QDII fund sizes to hit US$90 billion this year as the mainland government struggles to rein in excessive liquidity.
QDII products run by fund management firms, totalling four at present, have failed to impress local investors as they are suffering paper losses because of a bear run in global markets.
'The true test of investors' commitment will come when the net asset value for each QDII mutual fund breaks above par value of one yuan per share,' fund researcher Z-Ben Advisors said in a recent research report.