China In-Focus — China approves ICBC-Goldman JV; New rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds
RIYADH: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, also known as ICBC, said on Friday its wealth management joint venture with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. had received the country’s banking regulator’s approval to begin operations.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission’s nod comes as the world’s second-largest economy opens up its giant financial sector to investments from foreign players, allowing them to collaborate with domestic banks.
Goldman Sachs ICBC Wealth Management, set up in May last year with a 51 percent funding contribution from US banking giant Goldman and 49 percent by ICBC, will now offer a broad range of investment products to the Chinese market over time, including quantitative investment strategies.
ICBC will “push forward” the joint venture to execute all the relevant procedures “in strict compliance with laws, regulations and regulatory requirements,” China’s biggest bank said in a statement.
Regulate private pension investment via mutual funds
China’s securities regulator proposed rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds, setting the criteria for qualified products and sales agents under a scheme that will channel fresh savings into the country’s capital markets.
The draft rules, published by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) late on Friday, came after Beijing in April launched a milestone private pension scheme to tackle the challenges of the aging population.
Under the scheme, eligible Chinese citizens can buy mutual funds, savings deposits and insurance products via their own individual pension accounts, potentially boosting a pension market that has lured foreign asset managers including Fidelity International and BlackRock.
The proposed rules “have set a relatively high bar for products and institutions, and are designed to ensure safety of pension fund investment and protect investors’ interest,” the CSRC said in a statement on its website.
Initially, pension target funds with at least 50 million yuan ($7.48 million) of assets over the past four quarters are eligible under the pilot pension scheme, the CSRC said.
Senators seek update on US security review of TikTok
A group of six Republican senators on Friday asked US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about an ongoing Biden administration national security review of the social media platform TikTok.
The US government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which reviews deals by foreign acquirers for potential national security risks, in 2020 ordered Chinese parent company ByteDance to divest TikTok because of fears that US user data could be passed on to China’s communist government.
Last week, TikTok said it has completed migrating information on its US users to servers at Oracle Corp., as it seeks to address US concerns over data integrity.
Senators Tom Cotton, Ben Sasse, Mike Braun, Marco Rubio, Todd Young and Roger Wicker asked Yellen numerous questions saying the administration “has seemingly done nothing to enforce” the August 2020 divestiture order.” They noted, “the results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year.”
The senators want to know “will TikTok be locally managed in the United States?” and “Will the US government have the ability to routinely access and inspect the algorithm’s source code?” It also asks “what assurances does the US government have that TikTok will store US data and adopt privacy policies with adequate protections?”
(With input from Reuters)