China launches wealth management product pilots for retirement in four cities

Business

China’s banking and insurance regulator said on Friday it will launch wealth management product pilots in four cities aimed at retail investors looking to boost their retirement savings.

The products will be sold by wealth management units of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (601398.SS), China Construction Bank (601939.SS), China Merchants Bank (600036.SS) and China Everbright Bank (601818.SS).

The pilot products will last for a year starting from Sept. 15, and each institution involved can raise up 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) of products, the statement from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said.

China is wooing both public and private sector involvement as it tweaks its $1.2-trillion pension system for a rapidly ageing population faced with the prospect of underfunding.

Last month, China set up a state pension company with registered capital of 11.2 billion yuan, with 17 bank-affiliated wealth management units, insurers and state institutions taking stake, to help boost funds for retirees.

CBIRC in its statement urged the four institutions involved to design better wealth management products to help broaden the sources of retirement income.

Despite looming changes, China’s retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women, civil servants and white-collar workers.

Pilots will be launched in the central city of Wuhan, eastern coastal city Qingdao, western city Chengdu, and southern city Shenzhen.

($1 = 6.4415 yuan)