March 30, 2010

Shanghai To Launch Yuan Funds, REITs

Before the Panic of '08 China's State Council created the little-known National Office of Financial 30 to direct a series of financial liberalizations in Chinese capital markets. The financial crisis and Beijing's mammoth stimulus spending delayed many of the reforms. But word is Shanghai is on the cusp of getting approval for two major initiatives -- launching foreign Yuan private equity funds and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

A "trial plan for participation of foreign investment in Renminbi investment funds" is close to approval. This will allow certain foreign investors, most likely big institutions such as the Carlyle Group, to invest in Chinese private equity funds via a mechanism that would grant a quota of Yuan directly to the foreign investor.

Property developers in Pudong (Shanghai) and Tianjin appear to the driving force behind establishing REITs in mainland China. Details for Chinese REITs are still being sorted out but word from Yan Qingmin, head of the Shanghai office of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, is that REITs should get the green light in the 1st half of this year. Rumour is Citic Securities, the brokerage of Citic Group - China's premier transnational corporation - may be the first to establish a REIT.

The intent of the Financial 30 is to expand private sector access in bank lending and to channel investment to Chinese small and medium enterprises as well as other breakthrough type reforms. The ShenZhen GEM board, for example, grew out of the program....

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