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People's Daily Online>>China Business

Insurers put under higher supervision (2)

By Wei Tian (China Daily)

10:15, March 20, 2012

Taking into account the 2.2 trillion yuan in assets held by the 106 securities companies in China, the 4.9 trillion yuan held by the insurance industry, and other financial assets, the value of State-owned and State-controlled financial assets is greater than 150 trillion yuan.

The biggest assets are now under the supervision of various organizations such as the country's Ministry of Finance, the central bank and the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

Finance Minister Xie Xuren said in a press conference earlier this month that the State Council is looking at establishing a "State-owned financial assets supervision and administration commission".

Li Shuguang, a professor with the China University of Political Science and Law, said the obstacles to reforming the financial industry are the same as those that stood before efforts to reform State-owned enterprises: a lack of "ultimate owners" that would manage both earnings and liabilities.

"Establishing a financial assets regulator will be an important step in reforming the financial industry, because it will end the confusion caused by having various supervisors, and differentiate an ultimate investor for these assets," Li said.

Ma Hongman, a financial commentator, said such a regulatory body is likely to find it difficult to have its orders obeyed by the financial giants, just as the State-owned assets commission has not found it easy to persuade State-owned enterprises to exit the property market.

Hu Yuanyuan contributed to this story.

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