Viewing posts categorised under: Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Plans to Expand China Footprint with New Mutual Fund Unit

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Group AG plans to set up a wholly owned mutual fund business in China, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, as the Swiss bank seeks to expand its footprint in the country’s USD 3.9 trillion retail fund market. UBS aims to launch the China fund unit in about two years, the people said. The bank’s asset management arm began hiring key personnel in recent months for the planned business, including a head of the company, one of them said. Strong impetus for the endeavour comes from the top. Ralph Hamers, UBS chief executive since November 2020, is willing to make new bets in China partly due to a success there enjoyed by the bank he previously ran, ING, said the second source. The new activity will expand a UBS presence in China that already includes a mutual fund joint venture and a private fund business. It comes amid intensifying competition in the mutual fund industry in the world’s second-largest economy, heightened by the scrapping of foreign ownership caps two years ago.

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Swiss Re Names Ivan Gonzalez as CEO of Reinsurance, China

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Global reinsurance giant Swiss Re has announced that Ivan Gonzalez will serve as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Reinsurance for China and China Country President, where he relocates from New York to Beijing. In his new role, Gonzalez takes on responsibility for all of the firm’s reinsurance operations in China. Most recently, he served as the CEO of North America for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, a role he held since 2016. His career began in 2001 as a financial analyst with Swiss Re Capital Partners in New York. In 2006, he moved to Swiss Re Group Strategy in Zurich and was later named CEO of Latin America for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in 2011. Effective July 1st, Katie McGrath takes over from Gonzalez as Regional CEO for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions in North America, based in New York. She brings more than 25 years of experience across multiple roles in commercial insurance. McGrath joined the firm in 2019 and has since been responsible for its Accident & Health portfolio in North America. Prior to joining Swiss Re, she held several senior roles at AIG in New York.

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Credit Suisse Plans Accelerated China Expansion, Says China CEO

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse Group AG plans to accelerate its expansion in China, growing its team on the mainland by three times in the next five years, China chief executive Janice Hu said. Speaking to a media roundtable, Hu said that Credit Suisse has hired more than 120 people since gaining a majority stake in its China securities joint venture in June 2020. Hu said that the bank was in close contact with regulators over cross-border data transfers. China implemented a Personal Information Protection Law from November 1, complementing a new Data Security Law in regulating cyberspace and safeguarding national security. The Data Security Law requires all companies in China to classify the data they handle into several categories and governs how such data is stored and transferred to other parties. “We are communicating with the regulator and our headquarters on a daily basis to achieve a plan that regulators can agree with and is feasible for us … this is at the core of our work,” Hu said. She also said the bank was in talks to provide financing for internet firms unable to list in the short term.

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UBS Qianhai Gets China’s Second Fund Distribution License

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Qianhai Wealth Management Co Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS AG, announced on Monday it received approval from the Shenzhen Securities Regulatory Bureau to take part in securities investment fund distribution, becoming the second wholly foreign-owned institution to obtain a fund distribution license in China. According to the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System, UBS Qianhai was established on Feb 12, 2018, with registered capital of 206.25 million yuan ($31.99 million). It is totally controlled by Swiss firm UBS AG and is a wholly foreign-owned enterprise registered in Qianhai, Shenzhen. Shenzhen’s approval document said it should complete preparatory work within six months before starting business. Xu Jianzhou, CEO of UBS Asia Pacific, said hina is an important market for UBS. With China’s financial market continuously opening up and the overall development of the Greater Bay Area, UBS will take this opportunity to provide professional wealth management services and investor education.

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UBS: Sustainable Investing Picks Up in Asia

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

After years of reticence to sustainable investing in Asia, adoption is beginning to pick up amongst wealth clients at UBS due to a myriad of drivers including growing awareness, product innovation and market volatility in China. In the last six quarters, UBS Global Wealth Management has witnessed a sharp acceleration in the adoption of sustainable investing in the region. As of the first half of this year, client assets in sustainable investments reached USD 4.5 billion in Asia Pacific – a 350% surge compared to the start of 2020. The number of clients that have invested in sustainable investment mandates or funds have also grown 140 percent over the last 12 months. One key driver of demand is the growing awareness about sustainable investing and the key related areas of real-world impact. “With everything that is going on around climate change, governance topics and so on, [clients in Asia] are reading about ESG which you didn’t read about three years ago,” said head of sustainable advisory APAC Mario Knoepfel in a recent media roundtable attended by finews.asia.

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Zurich Debuts Life Business in Hong Kong

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Zurich has set up a new subsidiary called Zurich Life Insurance (Hong Kong) which has been granted a life insurer’s license by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority. The new licence will allow Zurich Life to deliver products and solutions that are well-tailored to the needs and expectations of customers in the market, it said in a statement. Geoffrey Au, CEO of Life Insurance, Zurich Hong Kong, said, “We see tremendous growth prospects in the local life insurance segment given the strong demand from customers to find solutions for their long-term financial needs. Traditionally, there is a strong savings culture in Hong Kong, but amid a persistent low interest rate environment, people are looking for better ways to safeguard their finances and strengthen their investment portfolio – and many are looking towards life insurance products to fill this gap.” “Zurich Hong Kong has seen strong new business growth in life insurance – recording more than a 50% increase in annualized premium equivalent (“APE”) in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter1. My team and I are very excited about this new milestone, which underpins our commitment to the Hong Kong insurance market and our ambition to further grow our business. It’s also particularly exciting that this launch coincides with Zurich Hong Kong’s 60-year anniversary in the market.”

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Swiss Re Ramps Up Support for China’s Green Development Goals

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

The reinsurance industry can play a leading role in tackling climate change and in supporting green transformation to improve climate resilience, according to Christian Mumenthaler, CEO of Swiss Re Group. In 2020, the devastating effects in extreme weather with an increase in secondary perils, such as severe storms and wildfires, contributed to USD 76 billion in global insured losses from natural catastrophes, Mumenthaler said. On top of this, the world has had to face the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, China has been one of the few countries able to weather the storm and get back to growth. “When we think about the Chinese market, we continue to think it is one of the most exciting markets in the world with very good prospects, and we have high confidence in China and its recovery,” Mumenthaler said in a video link to the China Development Forum 2021 held from March 20 to 22 in Beijing. Swiss Re has participated in the CDF since 2012, and this year focused on the topic of green transformation centering around the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25).

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Credit Suisse Plans to Triple China Headcount

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Credit Suisse will look to further accelerate its expansion plans in mainland China with plans to triple its headcount in the market over the next three years. “We are planning to more than triple our presence in term of headcount in China over the next three years and look forward to strengthening our position,” said Credit Suisse chief executive Thomas Gottstein during a panel discussion at the Beijing-based China Development Forum. In addition to increased headcount and also plans to take full control of its securities venture over the next 12 months after obtaining a majority stake last year, the bank will also look to expand its offering. It is planning to apply for a banking license in order for its branch to enhance its offering across private and investment banking. This is a significantly accelerated plan compared to August last year when the bank said it would look to double headcount over the next five years.

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Global Banks Looking to Chinese Mainland Market Amid Sweeping Push for Financial Opening

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Some global banks including Credit Suisse are purportedly relocating bankers from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland, in an effort to sharpen their competitive edge in the world’s second-largest economy which is spinning along in a sweeping push for financial deregulation. Credit Suisse lately relocated three directors and four more junior staff to the mainland, Bloomberg reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Another Swiss bank UBS is “in the process of shifting several managing directors.” And, JPMorgan recently relocated Houston Huang, who oversaw deal making for the US bank from Hong Kong, to Shanghai after appointing Huang as the head of investment banking for its securities joint venture in the mainland, said the report. “UBS has no plans systematically to relocate employees from Hong Kong to the mainland. However, we seek to maximize flexibility and will continue to relocate small numbers of personnel both to and from the mainland in line with the needs of the business,” a UBS spokesperson told the Global Times.

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UBS Aims to Double China Investment Banking Staff for Growth

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

UBS Group AG aims to double staff at its China investment banking business in 3-5 years, seeking to capture growth opportunities unleashed by Beijing’s capital market reforms, a senior executive said on Monday. Eugene Qian, chairman of UBS’ China brokerage venture, also said there’s a price to pay for not investing in China, describing the Trump administration’s measures to restrict investment toward China as “unnecessary.” “As China continues to open up its capital markets, more foreign capital is coming in, making talents in China scarce,” said Qian, chairman of UBS Securities Co Ltd. The brokerage venture currently employs over 200 people in investment banking,brokerage and research roles – excluding back office and other support staff – and aims to double that number. “No global investor can ignore China. If you don’t invest in China, you would underperform those who do,” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the UBS Greater China Conference in Shanghai. In addition to investment banking, UBS Group also plans to aggressively expand its wealth management and asset management business in China. Having more than doubled total China staff to nearly 1,300 since 2015, the Swiss group will continue to make “strategic hirings”, Qian said.

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