Signs for financial companies UBS AG, from left, DBS Group Holdings Ltd., Qatar Holding LLC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), JPMorgan Chase & Co., PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd. (PwC) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, stand on Jinrong Street in Beijing, China. (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

China to Hasten Approvals for Foreign Financial Firms

(Bloomberg) -- China will speed up approvals for securities firms and fund-company joint ventures in which foreign investors have majority stakes, a senior official said, another sign that policy makers are pressing ahead with efforts to open up the country’s financial system.

The comments were made by China Securities Regulatory Commission Vice Chairman Li Chao, according to the China Securities Journal. Li also said China must hasten to open up its capital markets, create globally competitive banks, and improve stock-trading links with Hong Kong.

China to Hasten Approvals for Foreign Financial Firms

Chinese officials have repeatedly stressed their determination to open up their $45 trillion financial industry, despite trade tensions with the U.S. In the past month, UBS Group AG became the first foreign entity to win control of a local joint venture since China said it would ease ownership rules in 2017. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura Holdings Inc. have also applied for approval to take 51 percent stakes in onshore JVs.

The potential rewards for foreign firms are enormous: a Bloomberg Economics analysis estimates China’s securities industry alone will have profits of $3.3 billion within 12 years.

Li also said authorities plan to start a stock options pilot program, according to the report published Friday.

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