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August 1, 2016

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China and UK securities watchdogs discuss deal

CHINESE and British securities watchdogs are discussing an agreement that will pave the way for landmark financial services projects between the countries, sources said, easing fears that Britain could be a less attractive partner for such deals after last month’s vote to leave the European Union.

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority and the China Securities Regulatory Commission are cooperating on a regulatory framework for a scheme for distributing fund products in each other's jurisdiction and a proposed London-Shanghai link for trading shares, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Britain, home to the EU’s biggest finance sector, has been pushing in recent years to deepen its financial services ties with China, which has agreed to these and other cross-border financial services schemes as part of the UK-China Economic and Financial Dialogue program.

Former UK chancellor George Osborne and Chinese vice premier Ma Kai said at last September's EFD meeting in Beijing that they would explore the creation of a London-Shanghai equity link and mutual funds recognition scheme, but neither government has provided further details.

The formal cooperation between the FCA and CSRC signals that the financial projects at least are going ahead, with one source saying the discussions had remained “very positive.”

Some market watchers had raised concerns that leaving the EU, which puts in doubt the UK's future access to the trading bloc and its “passports” to provide financial services there, could scupper such projects by limiting their potential scope and appeal.

“So far none of the cross-border exchange initiatives has been derailed by the risk of Britain leaving the European economic area and the associated passporting rights,” said Frederic Ponzo, managing partner at GreySpark Partners in London.

“What is clear is that the CSRC and the FCA will not stop cooperating after the vote to leave the EU,” he added.

The CSRC, UK Treasury and Chinese Ministry of Finance did not respond to requests for comment.


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