HKMA unveils the list of 19 Hong Kong banks that are eligible to sell their products in the mainland under the WMC scheme in the Greater Bay Area.
On Monday, October 18th, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) announced the allowance of 16 banks to sell their products in Hong Kong and the mainland, and of three additional banks to sell products to mainland residents only through a southbound route.
The launch of the cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect (WMC) scheme aims to open up the Chinese capital market to facilitate monetary flow between cities in the southern region of the country. Under the scheme, each investor is only allowed to trade up to CN¥1 million on a net remittance basis.
The approval of the HKMA marks the proper initiation of the project that was announced in September, and several tests have been taken in prior to measure the banks’ internal controls and systems readiness.
“Considering that it will be the first time for retail investors to conduct cross-boundary investments, we will closely monitor the operation of the cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect and step up investor education and investor protection work together with the industry,” said Eddie Yue Wai-man, the chief executive of the HKMA.
The 16 banks eligible for the scheme include the three note-issuing banks – HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Bank of China (Hong Kong) – along with Citibank (Hong Kong), Hang Seng Bank, OCBC Wing Hang Bank, Nanyang Commercial Bank, ICBC (Asia), Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) and China Construction Bank (Asia).
The three Hong Kong lenders that can only sell their products in the mainland through the southbound route are Bank of East Asia, DBS and Dah Sing Bank.
Most lending banks in Hong Kong have teamed up with their mainland parent or subsidiary, and such include OCBC Wing Hang Bank with Ping An Bank, and Citibank with China Guangfa Bank.
Seizing the opportunity, HSBC has revealed its plan to set up around 60 Wealth Management Connect centres in its existing Greater Bay Area retail outlets, where the bank will sell about 100 investment products in mutual funds, bonds and 11 foreign currencies to mainland investors.
“Greater Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the country with over 450,000 families holding at least CN¥ 6 million in investible assets,” said Greg Hingston, regional head of wealth and personal banking for Asia-Pacific at HSBC.
“Yet, less than 20% of Greater Bay Area residents in mainland China have overseas wealth products in their portfolios. The launch of Wealth Management Connect opens a new window for investment and stimulates demand for cross-boundary wealth management solutions.”
The HKMA will regularly update the list of eligible Hong Kong lenders on its dedicated WMC webpage.