The Chinese authorities have extended permission to 11 local banks to start running credit financing and asset management businesses on a trial basis, in a move that should spur hiring to staff up these new functions.
According to a report by 4-traders.com last week, the banks will now be allowed to conduct their asset management business independently. Previously, banks had to rely on brokerages, trust and fund management firms as intermediaries to link banks' funds to their investment projects to get around government restrictions.
The new trial, which is set to go live this week, has set a limit on banks of 500 million yuan (US$81.7 million) to CNY1 billion (US$163.4 million) for their asset management businesses.
The 11 banks that have been included in this trial are Industrial & Commercial Bank of China; China Construction Bank; Bank of Communications; China Merchants Bank; China Citic Bank; China Minsheng Bank; China Everbright Bank; Ping An Bank; Shanghai Pudong Development Bank; Industrial Bank and Bohai Bank.
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Louis Tse, a director of VC Brokerage, said these banks were targeting for high net-worth clients for these asset management businesses, adding that the new business lines would offer an additional source of revenue.
But he warned that there was a shortage asset management professionals on the mainland, making it likely that recruiting efforts will have to turn to banks in Hong Kong.
"China has a lot of graduates from established domestic or overseas universities or colleges, but they may not be have strong practical experience in asset management. The banks need managers people with a track record and it is likely they will be looking to recruit people from Hong Kong or overseas."
A spokesperson at the investor relations department of China Merchants Bank in Shenzhen said she is aware of the report that the bank is one of the 11 Chinese banks that are allowed to conduct asset management businesses on a trial basis, but declined to comment on whether the bank would be hiring for the new function.
Ping An Bank is another of the banks allowed to open asset management departments. A bank spokesman was not available for comment, but an official at the bank, who asked not to be named, said the lender was looking to recruit integrated financial specialists for Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
The official said that potential candidates needed at least 10 years working experience at well-known international financial institutions. Desirable skills and experience included insurance, securities, asset management, leasing, and funds.