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Smaller insurers to get help

QUALIFIED small and medium-size insurance companies in China would be allowed to invest directly in the country's stock market, in a move to cope with the economic slowdown, according to a government official.

Sun Jianyong, director of the Insurance Fund Investment Supervision Department of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, said at a conference in Shanghai on Saturday that the commission would increase investment areas which would allow for the entry of qualified small and medium-size insurers.

He did not give further details of the qualifying criteria. Previously, these insurers invested in the stock market through third-party management companies.

He said the regulator had drafted a new policy package to make proper adjustments and seek new growth areas to help buoy economic development during the financial crisis.

The new package includes widening bond investments, issuing some debenture bonds and promoting assets securitization.

The new policy will also encourage insurance companies to invest in infrastructure construction and expand the scale of investments to stimulate domestic demand and revive the country's economy, Sun said.

There are plans for pilot programs for equity investments by insurance companies to begin. But no other information was available.


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