Viewing posts categorised under: Finance

Zurich Insurance’s Asia Plans

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

Switzerland’s largest insurer has blown hot and cold in Asia and China in recent years. The insurer’s top man in Asia, Jack Howell, has made clear that Zurich is keen to jump back into the mainland China market, a full five years after offloading New China Life. The remarks represent a pledge to remain in Asia, after reports that Zurich was seeking a partial or full exit. Does Zurich view the 2013 sale as a mistake, then? Not exactly, according to Zurich Chairman Michel Lis. ÒIf you have an outstanding portfolio, but you can’t establish or deepen contact with your clients, then a sale is an option,Ó he told Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung. Zurich has been a quiet acquirer, snapping up Macquarie’s retail life insurance protection arm in Australia, MAA Takaful Berhad, a sharia insurance business in Malaysia, and Cover-More, an Australian travel insurer. Last year, Zurich posted a more than 42% drop in pre-tax profit in property and casualty insurance to USD 155 million when reserves from previous years fell away. Its life business hiked profit by more than 73% to USD 132 million. For comparison, Zurich’s overall pre-tax profit is USD 3.8 billion. While Howell told the South China Morning Post in January that Zurich would love to get back into China, Lis said that Asia is more than the economic juggernaut. ÒChina is a key part of our strategy in Asia, but it isn’t the only market we’re looking at.Ó

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UBS Group AG to Boost Majority Stake to 51% in China JV

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

The Swiss bank ÑÊ UBS Group AG UBS Ñ has expressed interest in increasing majority stake in its Chinese securities venture with the submission of application to ChinaÕs securities regulator Ñ The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), Bloomberg reported. This move follows CSRCÕs lessening restrictions on foreign ownership of brokerages announced earlier this year. Notably, indicating their readiness to allow greater access to global banks into their financial markets, the securities regulator has set the month of June as deadline for foreign companies to increase majority stake to 51% in securities JVs, up from the existing ceiling of 49%. Regarding this, the CSRC detailed the guidelines and experience mandatory for foreign shareholders, last week, along with the scale of businesses which can be recognized. Therefore, to explore opportunities for its investment banking, wealth and asset management operations in China, this Zurich-based bank targets to raise stake to 51%, up from the existing 24.99%.

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The Zurich Insurance Keen to Re-Enter China With a Joint Venture as Rules Relaxed for Foreign Financial Firms

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

Zurich Insurance, SwitzerlandÕs largest insurer, is seeking a joint venture partner in China, as the countryÕs recent easing of financial sector rules, tempts it to return to the mainlandÕs life insurance market which it quit five years ago. ÒWe have ambitions to grow in mainland China, which is a very big market with huge business opportunities,Ó Jack Howell, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Zurich Insurance, told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. The insurer previously had a 20% stake in New China Life Insurance, which it sold in 2013. It currently operates a wholly owned general insurance company, Zurich General Insurance Company (China), which offers property, corporate and other commercial risk insurance. ÒWe have ambitions to grow in mainland China, which is a very big market with huge business opportunities,Ó Jack Howell, chief executive for Asia-Pacific at Zurich Insurance, told the South China Morning Post in an exclusive interview. In November 2017, China announced that it would relax the 50% cap on foreign ownership in life insurance joint ventures so that overseas investors could own a majority 51% stake in three yearsÕ time, with the cap completely removed two years later.

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China A Powerhouse Of Innovation: UBS

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

A research report released recently by UBS recognized the innovation development of China in past five years, and predicts that China will become a global innovation powerhouse thanks to improved education quality, input in research and development and policy support to innovation, Economic Daily reported on 10 October. The current economic model of China is seeking a rapid transition from “Made in China” to “Created in China”, and China is expected to rule the technology realm in various fields. China has been growing fast in education, the report said. China sees 2.8 million graduates majoring in science and engineering every single year, which is five times compared to the U.S.. The proportion of science and engineering graduates per 1,000 people in 2015 is also five times compared to 2005.According to the QS world university ranking, the average score of top three Chinese universities has exceeded that of German universities. China is narrowing down the gap of academic performance with the U.S. and increasing the advantage over European countries. China has moved up five places in the ranking list from five years ago. The report also said that China has shown increasing investment in scientific research investment and financing. Input in research and development in China today takes up more share of GDP than the UK. Meanwhile, the government has stipulated the goal in the 13th Five-Year Plan that the ratio of R&D input in GDP must reach 2.5% by 2020. Therefore, UBS predicts that China is likely to surpass the U.S. in terms of the overall scale of research and development investment by 2019.

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Baidu’s IQiyi Picks BofA, Credit Suisse, Goldman for U.S. IPO: IFR

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

Baidu Inc’s iQiyi, a Netflix style video streaming service in China, has picked three banks to help arrange a U.S. initial public offering (IPO) worth about USD 1 billion, IFR reported on 16 October, citing people familiar with the plans. Bank of America, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs will help manage the deal, expected for as soon as the first half of 2018, added IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication. Baidu and the three banks did not immediately reply to Reuters requests for comment on the IPO plans.

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Asset Management Granted Private Fund Management License In China

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

UBS Asset Management today announced that its wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE), UBS Asset Management (Shanghai) Limited, has been granted a Private Fund Management (PFM) license from the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC). The license allows the WFOE to offer onshore fixed income, equity, and multi-asset private funds to both institutional and high net worth investors in China. “China is a key growth market for UBS Asset Management. Our goal is to be a leading asset manager in China for both onshore and offshore investors and a strong partner to Chinese clients investing overseas,” said Ulrich Koerner, President of UBS Asset Management. “UBS Asset Management is the first international manager with a QDLP quota to receive a PFM license in ChinaÕs onshore market. Securing the license expands the breadth and depth of our domestic offering, complements our offshore capabilities and, importantly, demonstrates our continued support of China in its efforts to open its capital markets to the world,” said Rene Buehlmann, Group Managing Director, Head Asia Pacific at UBS Asset Management. “UBS Asset Management has been serving China investors since the 1990s. With the addition of the PFM license, augmented by our other platforms in China, we can provide a broad range of services to onshore and global clients. It also allows us to work more closely with subsidiaries of global firms in China to meet their domestic investment needs,” he added.

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Move Over, Switzerland: Singapore and Hong Kong Set to Attract More Wealth

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

Singapore and Hong Kong will attract wealth from abroad at more than twice the pace of Switzerland over the next four years as AsiaÕs economic expansion draws cash from millionaires, Boston Consulting Group predicts. For decades, wealth hubs including Switzerland and Singapore have benefited from political and economic instability elsewhere that prompted rich people to move money abroad in search of investment returns. AsiaÕs biggest wealth centers are attracting clients from within the region who are becoming richer in tandem with its rising economic output. ÒRelative to Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore are growing faster because of the economic growth from China to India,Ó said Mariam Jaafar, a Singapore-based BCG partner and one of the authors of the report. Still, ChinaÕs restrictions on investment outflows may slow some of the movement of assets from the nation, Jaafar said. China ranks above Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia as the largest source of offshore wealth in the Asia-Pacific region, according to BCG. It contributed almost USD 12 billion in revenue pools for private banks last year, the most in the region, the report showed. Banks from UBS Group AG to Credit Suisse Group AG and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. have been adding wealth management staff to service global clients as assets grow.

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UBS Wealth Management CEO and Global Macro Strategist Says China Debt a Worry

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

Mark Haefele, global chief executive officer at UBS Wealth Management, and Isabelle Mateos y Lago, global macro strategist at BlackRock, discuss concerns over China demand and outlook for markets. They speak with Francine Lacqua and Tom Keene on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

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Zurich General Insurance Guangdong Branch Opened

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

On 21 March, Zurich General Insurance run officially their business in Guangdong Province and this is the third branch in China. Zurich General Insurance started the Beijing Representative Office in 1993 and became the first insurance company from European continent settling their representative office in China. By now, with the opening of Guangdong Branch, Zurich General Insurance completed the Chinese strategy plan. Zurich General Insurance showed strong confidence in the business opportunity provided by the ÒOne Belt One RoadÓ Strategy.

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Asia to Become Top Insurance Market in 2017: Swiss Re

by swisscham in Bank, Finance, Insurance

Swiss Re, a wholesale provider of reinsurance, believes the combination of a growing middle-income sector in Asia, especially in emerging markets, the low insurance penetration, and ChinaÕs ÒOne Belt, One RoadÓ policy will make Asia become the biggest insurance market in the new year. Speaking on the business outlook for Asean countries in 2017 at the ÒThailand Insurance SymposiumÓ yesterday, Clarence Wong, chief economist for Asia at Swiss Reinsurance Company, said he believed that premium income would surpass those in North America and the European Union. Ten years ago, premium income in Asia was half that of North America, he said, adding that the growing income in Asia over the past few years had attracted insurance firms to broaden their presence in this region. The insurance industry in Asia is in its third phase of development, in economic growth, income growth, solvency reform and personal lines, he said. Premium income from life and health insurance in the region is on an upward trend due to demographic changes and need for healthcare.

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