【英语中国】中国建行寻求开设伦敦分行 Chinese bank seeks OK for UK branch

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2014-6-20 06:17

小艾摘要: China’s second-biggest lender is pressing UK regulators for approval to set up a branch in London as part of a drive to expand its international business.China Construction Bank – nominated this wee ...
Chinese bank seeks OK for UK branch
China’s second-biggest lender is pressing UK regulators for approval to set up a branch in London as part of a drive to expand its international business.

China Construction Bank – nominated this week as the official clearing bank for renminbi trading in London – approached the Bank of England about establishing a branch in 2012. Wang Hongzhang, the bank’s chairman, said it was now working with regulators to win a branch licence as soon as possible.

Operating as a branch, rather than a subsidiary, would allow CCB London to offer services on a much bigger scale, backed by its parent’s capital and liquidity. That would allow it to expand in syndicated lending, advisory services for infrastructure projects and M&A, and enter asset management, Mr Wang said.

UK regulators, wary of importing banking crises, have been reluctant to grant licences that would allow institutions to run extensive operations without coming under an equivalent regulatory regime.

George Osborne, chancellor, has been courting the Chinese as he attempts to build up the City of London’s renminbi business. On a trip to Beijing last October he said the Bank of England had given approval for Chinese banks to be able to establish wholesale branches in the UK, which would provide services to other large institutions, allowing them to “significantly scale up their activity” in Britain.

However, a condition will be that they focus on wholesale banking, rather than economically sensitive retail services.

China and the UK have subsequently been in discussions over the detailed terms under which banks from Beijing would be allowed to open branches in London.

In February, the Prudential Regulation Authority set out its approach as the authorities attempt to strike a balance between welcoming foreign finance and protecting the UK from financial instability.

The PRA made it clear regulators do not want branches of banks from outside the European Economic Area offering anything other than minimal retail business without a “very high level of assurance” about their country’s crisis-management plans.

CCB currently operates in the UK on a subsidiary basis, but the bank has outlined ambitious plans to expand overseas. Mr Wang said while CCB’s international operations had previously tended to support Chinese companies, it would in future focus on winning business from local enterprises. It aims to build a network of 30 international operations across developed and emerging markets by the end of 2015.

Mr Wang flattered his hosts, saying CCB would be a “little brother” seeking to learn from its peers in the City, but that it could support London’s position as a foreign exchange trading hub by promoting offshore trade in the renminbi.

He hinted that growth in renminbi business would now depend in large part on the extent to which China opens access to its onshore capital markets.

Mr Osborne welcomed the nomination of CCB as a boost for London’s bid to become the main western renminbi trading hub.

However, Beijing has balanced CCB’s designation with the nomination, just two days later, of Bank of China as the renminbi clearing bank in Frankfurt.

中国第二大银行敦促英国监管机构批准其在伦敦设立一家分行,这是该行扩展国际业务计划的一部分。

本周被正式指定为伦敦人民币业务清算行的中国建设银行(CCB),曾在2012年就建立分行事宜接洽英国央行(Bank of England)。建行董事长王洪章表示,该行现在正与监管机构合作,争取尽快获得分行执照。

以分行(而非子银行)形式运营,将使建行伦敦能够以母公司的资本和流动性为后盾,以大得多的规模提供服务。王洪章称,这将使该行能够扩大银团贷款以及面向基础设施项目和并购的咨询服务,并进入资产管理领域。

对“进口”银行业危机抱有戒心的英国监管机构,不愿允许金融机构在不受同等监管制度监管的情况下运营广泛业务。

英国财政大臣乔治?奥斯本(George Osborne)一直在向中国方面示好,目的是发展伦敦金融城的人民币业务。他在去年10月访问北京时表示,英国央行已批准中资银行在英国建立批发分行,这些分行将能够向其他大型机构提供服务,从而让它们在英国“显著扩大自己的活动规模”。

不过,条件将是他们专注于批发银行业务,而不是对经济敏感的零售服务。

中英双方随后开展了详细讨论,敲定中资银行在伦敦开设分行的具体条款。

今年2月,英国央行下属的审慎监管局(Prudential Regulation Authority,简称PRA)阐明了立场。该局试图在欢迎外国金融机构和保护英国不受金融动荡影响之间取得平衡。

PRA明确表示,监管机构不希望欧洲经济区(EEA)以外的银行的分行在没有关于本国危机管理计划的“非常高水平的保证”的情况下,提供超出最低水平的零售服务。

建行目前在英国以子银行形式开展运营,但该行宣布了雄心勃勃的海外扩张计划。王洪章表示,虽然建行的国际业务此前倾向于支持中国企业,但未来它会聚焦于赢得当地企业的业务。该行的目标是到2015年底在发达国家和新兴市场建立由30个国际业务组成的网络。

王洪章恭维了东道主,称建行将是一个“小弟弟”,寻求向伦敦金融城的同行学习,但该行可以通过促进人民币离岸交易,支持伦敦作为外汇交易中心的地位。

他暗示,今后人民币业务的发展将在很大程度上取决于中国开放境内资本市场准入的程度。

奥斯本欢迎建行被指定为伦敦人民币清算行,称此举促进了伦敦成为西方主要人民币交易中心的努力。

然而,北京方面已对授权建行之举作出平衡,仅在两天后就指定中国银行(Bank of China)为法兰克福的人民币清算行。

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