RETAIL FUNDS | Cesar Tordesillas, China

China's insurers may get to sell mutual funds

Insurance companies to distribute mutual funds.

This is the latest move in China to expand sales channels for the fund industry.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission is now soliciting public opinions on draft rules allowing this.

Currently, mutual funds in China are mainly distributed through commercial banks, with the remainder sold by fund management companies and securities brokerages.

"Allowing insurers to sell funds is part of the nation's plan to further expand the fund distribution channel and diversify the types of fund-selling companies," the CSRC said in a statement on its website yesterday.

According to the draft rules, insurance carriers that qualify for the fund distribution business must have at least 5 billion yuan or US$806 million in registered capital and must be engaged in the insurance business for five years or above. They also have to be profitable for the last three consecutive years.

China allowed foreign commercial banks to sell domestic mutual funds in the country last year.

The commission yesterday said in a separate statement that it is planning to lift the current investment cap of US$1 billion for Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors.

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