Credit Suisse said on Monday that its plans to take a controlling stake in its securities joint venture in China, the latest overseas firm to take advantage of Beijing’s efforts to further open the country’s financial services industry. China announced in 2017 that it would allow foreign banks to own majority stakes in their securities joint ventures as part of an effort to open up its banking sector. UBS was the first foreign bank to receive approval from regulators in November to increase its joint venture stake to 51 per cent under the new rules. On Monday, Credit Suisse said that it had reached an agreement with its Chinese partner, Founder Securities, to increase its stake in the joint venture from 33.3 per cent to 51 per cent by injecting capital into the venture. The completion of this transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. “Credit Suisse will continue to work closely with Founder Securities and the respective regulatory authorities in this regard,” the bank said in a statement In a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Monday, Founder Securities said that the Swiss bank would inject 628.7 million yuan (US$93.7 million) into the joint venture as part of the transaction. HSBC is the only other foreign bank that has been able to gain 51 per cent control of a mainland securities joint venture, having opened its HSBC Qianhai Securities business under rules favouring Hong Kong-based lenders. The joint venture – Credit Suisse Founder Securities – was founded in 2008 and is based in Beijing. It provides a range of capital markets services to the domestic market and has also operated a securities brokerage business in Shenzhen’s Qianhai free-trade zone since 2016. Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner said that in the annual report that the company was positioning its business for “an eventual full China market opening”. Credit Suisse says its private banking unit suffered during second quarter amid China’s leverage unwind The company has proposed Shan Li, chief executive of Silk Road Finance Corporation, to join its board, whose experience Rohner said would be a “significant benefit” as bank moves to closer to a more open financial services sector in China. Li is a former vice-chairman of UBS Investment Bank Asia, former CEO of Bank of China International Holdings and chief China economist at Goldman Sachs. The Swiss bank has made a big bet on Asia in recent years under chief executive Tidjane Thiam as the bank has placed emphasis on its wealth management business. Thiam noted in the company’s annual report that Asia had about 800 billionaires in 2018, a one-third increase from the prior year. “The total volume of wealth in our target segment – ultra-high-net worth clients and entrepreneurs – is estimated at around US$5,000 billion,” Thiam said. Credit Suisse pays US$77m settlement ‘after bribing Chinese officials’ “At present, as demonstrated by our 2018 results, Credit Suisse is a leader in wealth management in Asia, ranking third in Asia in terms of assets under management, but we still have only a small percentage of the potential market. I see three ways of growing our business in the region.” Credit Suisse has had a presence in China for more than 30 years. It also operates an asset management joint venture, ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management. The company had assets under management of nearly 1.3 trillion yuan as of December 2018.