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Approval process more transparent

(China Daily)

13:27, April 23, 2012

China's top securities regulator will use a more transparent information system to allow new fund companies to receive approvals faster.

At the same time, it is trying to increase competition in the industry while encouraging the establishment of more investment fund products.

To make the approval process more transparent, the China Securities Regulatory Commission plans to release information on its website every month showing which fund companies are awaiting government approval, an official from the commission said on Friday.

"The time spent on the approval process, including examinations of securities laws, interviews and review meetings, is becoming shorter as we try to encourage the expansion of China's fund industry," the official said.

Obtaining approval often takes a fund company up to 18 months, measured from the time it submits an application to its receipt of a corporation license.

In the five years leading up to the end of March, the China Securities Regulatory Commission had given licenses to 71 fund management institutes in the mainland, that together had managed 2.8 trillion yuan ($444.4 billion).

Eight companies have applied for official approval and are waiting to receive it. Meanwhile, more than 10 institutions say they want to enter the fund management business.

Tang Xiaodong, deputy head of the commission's fund department, said on Friday at a Beijing forum that fund companies are important institutional investors and play an important role in making China's capital market a better place for investment.

"To boost the fund industry and encourage long-term investment is necessary at the moment because that can make the market more efficient at allocating capital resources and help money flow into the real economy", which includes manufacturing and services, he said.

China's fund industry has developed quickly in the past decade. Even so, it still offers a small range of products, making it difficult to meet the different needs of investors, analysts said.

The commission is designing more fund products that are related to fixed income investments, such as company bonds. It is also encouraging the addition of investment instruments that have high liquidity, the official said.

"Despite products in the secondary market, we are also looking at having fund tools for investing in the primary market," he said. "That means the money raised can be involved in the process for issuing new shares. But designing such products may take longer since it would entail modifying current fund laws."

Xu Jianping, president of Soochow Asset Management Co Ltd in Shanghai, said: "Providing various products to different clients will be the best way that fund companies can compete."

Xu said fund managers should try to look farther out and seek the most profitable opportunities in the global market.

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