Fan Fuchun, a vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, will step down, having reached the mandatory retirement age. Liu Xinhua, an assistant to CSRC chairman Shang Fulin (above), would fill the vacancy left by Mr Fan, sources said. Analysts said the changeover would not affect policy setting at the securities watchdog. Mr Fan, 61, the No2 official at the CSRC, also holds the post of deputy party secretary of the agency. He was expected to retire last year after turning 60, but the global financial crisis and the Beijing Olympics delayed high-level personnel changes at the agency. Policy setting normally hinged on the commission's chairman, so the retirement of Mr Fan would not bring any major changes to the commission, which had been struggling to address the bearish sentiment that had hobbled the exchanges, analysts said. Sources said there was speculation at the securities watchdog that Mr Shang, 58, would also leave the commission in the near future to oversee the People's Bank of China, replacing central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan. In China, minister-level officials normally retire at the age of 65, while vice-minister-level officials step down when they reach 60. 'The rumour that Mr Shang would leave has been circulating within the CSRC for quite a few months,' said a source. High-level personnel changes at the CSRC are always a topic of interest on the mainland, where millions put their life savings into the equity market. Many mainland investors believe the choice of CSRC chairman can affect the movement of the key indices. If Mr Shang were to stay on, the CSRC would continue to take a go-slow approach to reform, analysts said. The CSRC has considered launching index futures, a growth enterprise market and margin lending in the past two years, but none have so far materialised. It was reported that Mr Fan would head the China Financial Futures Exchange after stepping down. The futures bourse was established in 2006, but the first contract has yet to be traded. His replacement, Mr Liu, is in charge of the CSRC's general office, which is also responsible for media releases on policy changes. The CSRC will nominate a new assistant chairman.