British insurer Prudential was added to a major index on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which qualifies it for inclusion in a transborder investment scheme available to mainland Chinese investors. Prudential, headquartered in London but listed in London and Hong Kong, joined the Hang Seng Composite Index on Monday. That qualified it for inclusion in the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Stock Connect, enabling mainland Chinese investors to trade its shares via the Hong Kong exchange. Prudential’s share price in Hong Kong rose 0.3 per cent to HK$81.4 on Monday after rising by as much as 3 per cent in intraday trading amid a falling market – the Hang Seng Index ended the day 1.2 per cent lower. The addition , announced by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, came right after a top official of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said last Friday that the inclusion of foreign firms was key to expanding the Stock Connect schemes. Details of the scheme and the actual list has not been announced. Still, Prudential’s inclusion in the composite index and the Stock Connect was a “significant milestone,” said James Turner, the insurer’s chief financial officer. Hong Kong firms eye Macau amid moves to diversify gambling hub’s economy “We are delighted to offer investors in the Chinese mainland an opportunity to be part of our growth journey,” Turner said in a statement. “We aim to achieve long-term double-digit growth in embedded value per share, driven by our diverse sources of growth across Asia and Africa, and supported by our leading positions in high-growth markets.” The Stock Connect schemes link mainland Chinese markets with the market in Hong Kong, allowing international investors to trade the stocks of mainland-listed companies, while providing mainland investors with access to Hong Kong-listed shares. The first Stock Connect was launched in 2014 and linked the city with Shanghai. The Shenzhen link was added two years later. Foreign firms were not allowed on the Stock Connect schemes previously. The expansion to include Hong Kong-listed overseas companies was announced by Fang Xinghai, the CSRC’s vice-chairman. The Shenzhen exchange announced its updated list of companies for the Stock Connect on Monday – Prudential was among 20 companies added to the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, while 16 stocks were removed as part of a regular review. Shanghai will update its list next month. “Key to the expansion of the Stock Connect is getting foreign companies on it,” Fang said. “By doing so, Hong Kong will be able to attract listings of more global and foreign companies. That is important for Hong Kong to play its role as an international financial centre.” Prudential, which was established in Britain in 1848, will mark 100 years in Asia in 2023. It started its business in Hong Kong in 1964. In recent years, it has shifted its focus to life and health insurance and asset management services in 23 markets in Asia and Africa. It spun off its UK and European retirement business in 2019 and its US retirement unit last year. UK insurer Prudential to raise US$2.4 billion in Hong Kong stock placement “Prudential has a long history in Asia, particularly in Hong Kong and mainland China,” said Louis Tse Ming-kwong, managing director at Wealthy Securities. “The new policy will also be a shot in the arm for the Hong Kong stock market, which is suffering from a new listings dry spell this year.” Prudential will move Anil Wadhwani , its incoming CEO, to Hong Kong when his appointment becomes effective in February, the insurer said in May. The city is Prudential’s largest market with about 1,500 employees. The insurer, which was already listed in London, had a dual-primary listing in Hong Kong in 2010. “As our markets emerge from the pandemic, we are well placed to help our customers get the most out of life by providing them [with] greater access to healthcare and financial security,” Turner said.