Exam in English Adds to China Finance Industry Barriers Falling

(Bloomberg) -- Industry exams in English are the latest example of China’s financial opening up.

Starting next month, for the first time, foreign senior staff of private securities funds will be able to take the industry’s qualifying exam in English, the Asset Management Association of China said on its website April 12. The tests are for staff including chairmen and presidents, as well as investment, research and trading heads.

Fidelity International, UBS Asset Management and Man Group Plc are among foreign firms licensed for China’s 2.6 trillion yuan ($414 billion) private securities funds industry, which caters to qualified domestic companies and wealthy individuals, rather than selling products to the public as mutual funds do. The qualifying exams were previously only offered in Chinese, sending foreign firms scrambling for the limited pool of local language speakers to fill such posts.

“This new development is a major step toward welcoming global talent,” Liu Ming, a senior associate at Shanghai-based consulting firm Z-Ben Advisors, said in an email. “This offers more opportunity for foreign managers to transfer key senior members of their overseas teams to oversee and run their China operations.”

China has been highlighting its plans to open up, as part of managing tensions with the U.S. including President Donald Trump’s threats to impose tariffs. More than 30 foreign firms have set up wholly-owned investment management businesses in China and more than 10 have registered with the asset management association to offer private securities investment funds, according to Z-Ben data.

The first English-language exam will be on May 4, according to the association. The compliance and risk management heads of private securities funds will continue to be required to pass the Chinese-language qualifying exam, it added.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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