Credit Suisse obtains key approval to launch wealth business in China
The Credit Suisse logo in Shanghai, China, October 28, 2022. /CFP
The Credit Suisse logo in Shanghai, China, October 28, 2022. /CFP

The Credit Suisse logo in Shanghai, China, October 28, 2022. /CFP

Credit Suisse has received regulatory green light from China after years of waiting to launch a full-fledged wealth management business in the world's second-biggest economy, according to a company memo reviewed by Reuters.

The expansion comes after the lender suffered worse-than-expected global wealth outflows of 92.7 billion Swiss francs ($98.29 billion) in the fourth quarter.

The Swiss bank is pushing to roll out the wealth business in China by the first half of this year, according to the memo which was confirmed by a company spokesperson, targeting a 27 trillion yuan market.

Credit Suisse Securities China, the company's China joint venture, recently obtained an investment consultancy license, which allows it to create and distribute equity research products onshore and to engage in investment advisory services, according to the memo.

The firm also scored approvals for proprietary trading and an expansion in its brokerage license enabling it to serve clients nationwide, having previously been confined to the southern city of Shenzhen.

"We are pleased to have received these licenses as it marks a key milestone in offering wealth management services onshore in China, which is the fastest growing wealth market in the world," Edwin Low, Asia-Pacific CEO of Credit Suisse told Reuters in an email statement.

Credit Suisse "plans to double the number of relationship managers in China in 2023," said Benjamin Cavalli, the company's head of wealth management for Asia Pacific, without providing details on how many relationship managers it currently has.

In recent years, China has further opened up its financial industry and more international financial institutions have been venturing into China. 

Earlier in January, China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved Standard Chartered's bid to set up a wholly-foreign-owned securities firm. According to Securities Times, at the end of last year, Morgan Stanley obtained the approval from China's authorities to engage in alternative investment business by setting up subsidiaries. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities and UBS Securities were named on the latest "white list" of securities companies by the CSRC. 

(With input from Reuters)

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