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Financial blueprint to build talent pool

SHANGHAI law makers will soon begin deliberations on their first comprehensive blueprint for completing the city's development as one of the world's most important financial hubs.

The Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress is expected to review proposed rules in the second half of this month that would set up a development fund to nurture innovation, attract talent and boost the financial industry.

The draft will include policies to attract and retain financial professionals by addressing quality-of-life concerns such as health care and education for their children.

The city is also considering efforts to introduce more internationally recognized institutions that vet the performance of financial firms in a bid to increase professionalism.

Government bodies including the Shanghai Financial Services Office and the Legislative Affairs Office have been working on the draft rules since February 2008 and have solicited views from financial regulators, the industry and academic experts from major universities.

Law makers hit the local board rooms for a road show on Thursday.

Wall Street East

Shanghai is already at the heart of China's financial industry. The city is home to about 70 percent of the overseas banks that now operate in the country. The city is also the site of the country's biggest stock market, futures market and gold and foreign exchanges.

The financial industry accounts for more than 10 percent of the local economy, providing 200,000 jobs.

The city has even turned the global hiring slowdown into an opportunity to attract talent. In December, Shanghai financial institutions that embarked on a hiring drive in the United States and United Kingdom received 10 applications for every job on offer.

Planning by the central government for Shanghai's ascension began in the early 1990s. The Pudong New Area, at center stage in the plan, has become China's Wall Street and is home to big-name financial institutions such as HSBC, Citigroup and MetLife.

Pudong's efforts were boosted by district-level policies such as tax incentives to lure talent. About 2,000 financial professionals recently received cash bonuses. The amount was not disclosed.


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