China approves Goldman Sachs, ICBC joint wealth management venture

BEIJING (Reuters) -China’s largest bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said on Tuesday its unit had received approval to set up a foreign-controlled wealth management firm with Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

The unit of U.S. banking giant Goldman Sachs Group Inc will offer a 51% funding contribution ratio, while the wealth management unit of ICBC will offer 49%, the Chinese bank said in a exchange filing.

The joint venture is “to create a world-class asset management business,” said Goldman Sachs in an emailed statement to Reuters, as it “will combine Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s expertise in investment and risk management with ICBC’s strong brand recognition and unparalleled access to retail and institutional clients across China.”

ICBC said it “will be beneficial to the bank’s provision of more diversified and professional wealth management services.”

The venture will develop a broad range of investment products for the Chinese market over time, including quantitative investment strategies, cross-border products and innovative solutions in alternatives.

China opened its giant financial sector to foreign companies last year as part of an interim trade deal with the United States signed in January.

U.S. fund giant BlackRock Inc received a business licence earlier this month for a majority-owned wealth management venture with a unit of country’s second largest bank China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) and Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd.

Amundi has also set up a wealth management joint venture with Bank of China, and Schroders has applied to partner with Bank of Communications (BOCOM) in wealth management.

Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), country’s top banking watchdog, said in March that Chinese regulators would welcome more foreign firms’ entry into China’s financial sector, including the wealth management space.

(Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and David Evans)