China will allow UBS to control local securities business

UBS Group AG

China is allowing Switzerland's UBS to become the first foreign bank to take control over a local securities business as Wall Street firms wait yet for further access.

"The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) recently approved UBS AG to increase the shareholding ratio of UBS Securities Co Ltd.to 51 per cent", the regulator said in a statement late Friday (Nov 30). UBS, which now holds nearly 25% in the local venture, said in a statement that it would acquire additional stakes from state-owned asset manager China Guodian Capital Holdings, and state-owned grain trader Cofco Group.

In April this year, China addressed the complaints by allowing foreign financial firms to finally own 51 percent of their respective JVs.

USB AG, which now owns about 25 per cent of shares in the USB Securities Co. With this, the Swiss bank beat other financial institutions which include JP Morgan Chase, and Japan's Nomura Holdings.

"This will be the first foreign-controlled brokerage approved by the CSRC since the rules on foreign investment in brokerages were implemented", the commission said.

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Earlier this week, the European insurance giants Allianz and Axa received approval to expand their footprint in China.

Previously, the lack of control had prevented foreign companies from expanding their businesses in China due to the difficulty in integrating their mainland operations with their global ones. Ltd.is the company's key strategy to grow the business in the Asian powerhouse, Sergio Ermotti, UBS group CEO, said in a statement.

UBS Securities Co. which now focuses on debt and equity underwriting as well as financial advisory, will be looking to delve into wealth management, investment banking and asset management.

"With majority control, we can better realize on the opportunities in China's capital markets and make a greater contribution to the UBS Group", Eugene Qian, President of UBS Securities, added.

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