Goldman Sachs shifts to full ownership of China securities joint venture

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FILE PHOTO: A sign is displayed in the reception of Goldman Sachs in Sydney

By Scott Murdoch

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc has signed a pact to buy out its China joint venture partner to make it the most advanced foreign bank to take full ownership of a mainland securities business.

The process to boost its stake in the Goldman Sachs Gao Hua (GSGH) venture from 51% to 100% has also been initiated with regulators, according to an internal memo issued on Tuesday to staff of the Wall Street bank.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs in Hong Kong confirmed the memo content.

Most of the international banks in China own 51% of their securities businesses, which typically house investment banking operations, with a Chinese partner.

JPMorgan took 71% of its joint venture in November when it bought an extra 20% stake in the mainland business and analysts believe it could be the next in line to move to full ownership.. JPMorgan declined to comment.

Credit Suisse flagged in July it wanted to own 100% of its China securities venture but declined to comment on how advanced it was in the process.

Goldman has previously indicated it would double its headcount in China to 600 people by 2025 as part of its expansion plans.

The terms of the Goldman Sachs deal have not yet been made public.

Unlike most of the other China JVs, Goldman had day-to-day operational control of its business, which offers investment banking services such as equities and bond underwriting and deal advice, even with its minority ownership.

Full ownership could allow foreign banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector, and better integrate them with their global businesses.

“One hundred percent ownership of our franchise on the mainland represents a significant commitment to and investment in China, outlined in our China strategic plan,” the Goldman memo said.

(Reporting by Scott Murdoch; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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