JPMorgan Applies for China Venture Control After Dimon Visit

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(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. submitted an application to acquire a majority stake in a Chinese securities venture, following UBS Group AG and Nomura Holdings Inc. in seeking to take advantage of Beijing’s latest commitment to open its financial markets.

JPMorgan Brokering (Hong Kong) Ltd. is seeking permission to take a 51 percent stake in a local entity, China Securities Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Gao Li said in a statement late Thursday. The regulator will review the application “efficiently” in accordance with the law and regulations, the statement said.

The move comes after Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon visited China this week and expressed hope that mounting trade tensions won’t derail the U.S. bank’s plans to expand in the world’s second-largest economy. Dimon, 62, reiterated in an interview on Tuesday that JPMorgan still plans to achieve 100 percent ownership of a Chinese brokerage operation, adding that the bank is in the “process.”

China renewed a pledge last month to open its financial markets and set a June deadline for allowing foreign firms to own as much as 51 percent of their securities JVs, up from the current 49 percent ceiling. All ownership limits will be removed after three years, China has said.

UBS submitted an application on May 2, while Nomura filed its request earlier this week. Both banks acted after China’s securities regulator encouraged them to quickly submit applications, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

JPMorgan decided more than a year ago to exit a minority-owned Chinese investment-banking joint venture, with Dimon highlighting that such setups tend to have corporate governance shortcomings. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have also signaled a desire to control their China JVs.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Jun Luo

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