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Wealth management opens doors for banks
Aggregated Source: Shanghai Daily: Business

THE rise of China's middle-class has triggered demand for customized wealth management services, providing opportunities for commercial banks to earn more income, a Lujiazui Forum panel said yesterday.

"Individuals in China had 80 trillion yuan (US$13 trillion) worth of investable assets last year, which expanded by an average annual rate of 21 percent from 2008," said Zhang Yun, vice chairman of the Agricultural Bank of China.

"By the end of 2012, the top-four banks had more than 120,000 private banking customers and managed more than 1.7 trillion yuan of assets," Zhang added.

He said the 80/20 rule has no longer applied in China. At present, 80 percent of financial assets in the country are owned by 15 percent of the population.

"Private banking serves a small group of customers, however this small group has a very large need (for wealth management services)," said Ma Jian, general manager of private banking at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. "The small platform of private banking could even leverage the restructuring of the whole banking sector."

Investment needs and the strategic transformation of banks fostered the rapid growth of wealth management business in China. The nation's 18 major banks have made 246.4 billion yuan for their clients with an average return of 4.11 percent annually, the Shanghai bureau of the China Banking Regulatory Commission said in a report yesterday.

Domestic and overseas banks issued 27,565 personal wealth management products last year in Shanghai, up 10 percent from a year earlier. However, the funds they attracted dropped 9.7 percent to 3.34 trillion yuan.

Outstanding products stood at 576 billion yuan at the end of 2012, a 37.5 percent yearly increase. The scale of wealth management products in Shanghai accounted for about 14 percent of the national total, the report said.

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