Viewing posts categorised under: Bank / Finance / Insurance

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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Credit Suisse Silently Invested $100M In Alibaba Subsidiary Ant Financial, Set To Benefit Immensely In Public Debut

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Credit Suisse Group AG is set to reap the benefits of a secret investment it made in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) subsidiary Ant Financial Services Group, as the latter goes public in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Bloomberg reported. The Swiss bank invested $100 million during the Chinese financial firm’s latest funding round in 2018, which brought Ant’s valuation to $150 billion, according to Bloomberg. Asset management firm Bernstein projects Ant Financial’s valuation to be $210 billion, a premium of 40% over Credit Suisse’s investment. The lender didn’t previously disclose the amount it invested in Ant and does not have plans to sell its stake, people familar with the matter told Bloomberg.

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China: Reinsurer Advises on Growth Strategy After Pandemic

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

In a recent interaction with the media, Swiss Re China CEO John Chen shared how China domestic insurers should catch up with the rest of the world in the post-pandemic era. “Chinese insurance companies should launch products and services with targeted and customised features to increase the insurance coverage rate during post-pandemic,” he said. According to Mr. Chen, the current challenges facing the Chinese insurance market include – economic recovery after the pandemic, changes in the underwriting cycle, the catastrophe protection gap under climate change, comprehensive reform of auto insurance, the sustainable development of health insurance and digitalisation. He mentioned that the lockdown of cities in response to the pandemic control has brought economic activities and business operations to a halt. This has led to economic growth falling into a gradual recession and global supply chains being hit. In terms of life insurance, he noted that the pandemic has led to the shrinking of the traditional channel of sales.

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Credit Suisse Wins Control Over Chinese Securities Joint Venture

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Credit Suisse has taken a majority stake in its Chinese securities joint venture, granting it control for the first time over its business with the troubled Founder Group conglomerate. The Swiss bank joins a handful of other financial institutions taking advantage of an expedited opening of China’s financial markets, after years of slow, frustrating developments. Under pressure from the US to allow more foreign participation in domestic investment banking, asset management and insurance, China’s regulators have sped up reforms over the past two and a half years. Since then, UBS, Nomura, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have secured majority stakes in Chinese securities joint ventures, or the regulatory permission to do so. Credit Suisse said on Monday that it had increased its shareholding in Credit Suisse Founder Securities from 33.3% to 51%, after receiving regulatory approval in April. The bank is injecting capital into CSFS, diluting Founder Securities’ stake.

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Digital Banking: Swiss Financial Giant UBS has Applied for a Virtual Bank License in Mainland China

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Switzerland-based UBS Group AG, a global investment bank and financial services firm with around USD 1 trillion in assets, recently confirmed that it is planning to launch a digital banking platform that would reduce operational costs and stimulate growth. However, UBS said its plan depends on whether or not it can secure a digital bank license in mainland China. Edmund Koh, head of UBS’ Asia-Pacific division, says China’s framework digital banking guidelines should be available by June or July of this year. As reported by the SCMP, Koh is hoping that UBS’ virtual bank application (for a countrywide, majority-owned digital bank license) will be approved or at least move forward in some way. If UBS’ application is successful, then it will be joining Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings’ and Alibaba Group Holding’s banking units in offering cost-effective digital financial services throughout China. Koh, who is planning to incubate the initiative in China and then launch globally, remarked “We need scale, and I’m going to get that scale for UBS, working together with the Chinese authorities.” Private banking has been a highly profitable sector of the financial services industry; however, cost-to-income ratios continue to remain relatively high (around 70-80%) as well.

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Swiss Giant Wins China Nod

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

Credit Suisse achieved a key milestone for its Chinese activities. The Swiss bank won regulatory approval to take a majority stake in Founders Securities, a joint venture it maintains in China, it said in a statement in Friday. Credit Suisse is the latest bank to rush in following the lifting of restrictions. “Credit Suisse will work closely with Founder Securities to make the necessary arrangements to complete the planned capital injection and related procedures,” the bank said. With the move, Credit Suisse’s holding will increase to 51 percent, from one-third currently. Last year, Chinese authorities said it will remove foreign ownership limits for securities, insurance, and fund management companies next year – one year earlier than planned. For Credit Suisse, this means developing onshore capabilities, the bank said. “We intend to continue to invest in this important market to bring our integrated capabilities and our comprehensive range of financial products and services to both domestic and international clients in China,” Asia head Helman Sitohang said.

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China Pacific to Discuss Buying USD 2 Billion Stake in Swiss Re

by swisschambei in Bank / Finance / Insurance

China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co. is in talks to invest at least USD 2 billion for a stake in Swiss Re AG as it seeks to build partnerships overseas, according to people familiar with the matter. Swiss Re would also spend USD 500 million to USD 1 billion for a minority stake in China Pacific as part of the deal, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Discussions are at an advanced stage and an agreement may be reached soon, though talks could still be delayed or fall apart, the people said. Swiss Re said in a statement it has been exploring a potential investment in a sale of new securities by China Pacific. No definitive agreements have been reached, and a deal would depend on factors including whether China Pacific decides to proceed with the offering, according to the statement.

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