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Credit Suisse aims to take control of China securities venture

Kitco News

ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse has agreed to take majority control of Chinese securities venture Credit Suisse Founder Securities Ltd (CSFS), boosting its stake to 51 percent from 33.3 percent via a capital injection, the Swiss bank said on Monday.

Under the deal, the stake held by Credit Suisse’s partner Founder Securities Co Ltd will fall to 49 percent. Credit Suisse did not say how much capital it planned to inject should regulators approve the deal.

China now allows foreign banks to hold controlling stakes in securities joint ventures as a major part of the country’s pledge to ease ownership curbs, especially in the trillion-dollar financial sector.

Swiss rival UBS Group became the first foreign bank to hold a majority stake in a Chinese securities venture when China’s securities regulator gave the go-ahead in November under new rules announced by Beijing in 2017.

JP Morgan and Nomura also won Chinese regulatory approval last month to set up majority-owned brokerage joint ventures.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission said at the time it would continue to approve foreign brokerage joint ventures “efficiently”.

The biggest global investment banks, which struggled to build their China businesses under rules that previously limited them to 49 percent ownership, had long sought the lifting of such limits on joint ventures.

Established in 2008 and headquartered in Beijing, CSFS provides capital markets services in the Chinese domestic market, including sponsoring and underwriting A-shares, foreign investment shares, and government and corporate bonds. It also provides financial advisory services, Credit Suisse said.

Since October 2016, the business has also operated a securities brokerage operation in Shenzhen Qianhai.

Credit Suisse has been present in China for more than 30 years. Its franchise includes equities, investment banking and capital markets, and private banking. It also has an asset management joint venture — ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management Co Ltd — with total assets under management of nearly 1.3 trillion yuan ($193.78 billion) as of the end of 2018.

Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill and Jane Merriman

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