China will improve the management of State-owned financial institutions in key sectors to bolster financial security, widen mixed-ownership and financial opening-up reforms to vitalize the market, said a guideline released by the central authorities.
The move aims to “optimize the strategic layout of (State-owned) financial capital”, enhance the vitality of State-owned financial institutions, and maintain or increase their values, according to the guideline issued by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, the country’s cabinet.
The move comes on the back of ongoing efforts to improve the real economy, prevent financial risks and deepen financial reform.
“The guideline would enable national financial capital to better serve the real economy, fend off potential financial risks and further promote financial reform,” Zhao Xijun, deputy dean of the School of Finance at Renmin University of China, told China Daily.
“The move will increase the competitiveness and efficiency of State-owned financial institutions, and ensure the healthy and sustainable development of the overall industry. An improved environment will benefit all players, including foreign players, in the sector,” he said.
The proportion of State-owned financial capital should be adjusted appropriately in the banking, insurance, securities and other related industries, said the guideline.
According to the document, developmental and policy-based financial institutions should remain State-owned. The nation should have absolute control of financial infrastructure institutions that involve national financial security, and play a dominant role in influential State-owned financial firms.
As for State-owned financial institutions in the competitive fields, various types of capital should be introduced, while the national capital can be allowed to have a majority or minority shareholding, the guideline said.
It stressed State-owned financial institutions should continue to make efforts to “promote mixed-ownership reform in a stable manner in line with market principles”.
China has vowed to take substantial efforts to further open up its financial sector to foreign investors. It has, for example, allowed foreign enterprises to take as high as 51 percent of shares in Chinese securities, fund management, futures and life insurance companies and the cap will be eliminated in 2021.
The guideline came at a time when the management of State-owned financial capital still faces several challenges, such as unclear job responsibilities of senior managers and low efficiency of operation to better allocate resources, the Ministry of Finance said on July 9 in an online statement.
Improving the management of State-owned financial capital is an “imperative need” to promote the modernization of financial governance systems and capabilities, as well as enhance the competitiveness of State-owned financial companies, the statement said.
The guideline requires that the centralized management of State-owned financial capital be strengthened.