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January 25, 2017

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Tighter rules for insurers

CHINA’S top insurance regulator yesterday announced a ban on insurers acquiring listed firms in concert with non-insurance parties, in a move to prevent radical stock investment and maintain financial market stability.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission set new rules on insurers’ investment in the stock market, so that when insurance companies make major stock investment with non-insurer parties, they must use their own funds to make a purchase.

A purchase of at least 20 percent of stock in a listed company by an insurer is considered a major investment.

Insurance firms are not allowed to acquire listed companies or purchase a major stake before gaining regulatory approval, according to the rules.

The CIRC ordered that an insurer’s investment in one single stock should not exceed 5 percent of its total assets at the end of the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, an insurer’s total equity investment should be less than 30 percent of its total assets at the end of the previous quarter.

The new rules came in the wake of “barbaric” behavior of some insurers using leveraged money to buy shares of listed companies late last year.


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