Sales of inpidual wealth management products in China shot up in the last quarter of 2007 as banks expanded their product offerings, the banking regulator said yesterday.
By the end of September there were 60 banking institutions in China offering inpidual wealth management services such as mutual funds, insurance products and offshore investments.
Together China’s banks sold Rmb600bn $82bn worth of such products in the first three quarters of 2007.
But the China Banking Regulatory Commission CBRC said it expected that figure had jumped to Rmb1,000bn by the end of the year as more products became available and customers shifted money out of interest-bearing time deposits.
With inflation hitting an 11-year high of 6.9 per cent in November and the one-year deposit rate at only 4.14 per cent, Chinese investors are faced with negative real interest rates and have been looking for alternatives to bank deposits.
The government is actively encouraging Chinese banks to persify from their traditional reliance on the spread between deposit and loan interest rates, which are set by the central bank to ensure profitability at the state-owned lenders.
In June last year the CBRC set a target for large and medium-sized state-owned banks to increase their fee-based income from about 17 per cent of their total now to 40-50 per cent within the next five to 10 years.
Most of the world’s largest banks have set up operations in China and many, including Standard Chartered, UBS and HSBC, began offering private banking services available to clients with $1m or more to invest, last year.
Deutsche Bank yesterday announced it had incorporated locally in Beijing, allowing it to offer more services, including renminbi deposit and lending services.
The CBRC warned yesterday that the growth in wealth management services had been accompanied by a rise in the number of scams aimed at swindling ignorant inpiduals and that such cases have a profound effect on society at large.