BNP Paribas plans China push as Beijing mulls removing ownership caps

Pedro Gonçalves
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BNP Paribas plans China push as Beijing mulls removing ownership caps

BNP Paribas is getting ready to make an expanded push in China as the threat of a trade war has forced Beijing to consider lifting ownership limits on financial firms. 

France's biggest lender will enter into brokerage and wealth management services in China. It is also considering an expansion into securities trading in the country, adding to its corporate advisory and equity fundraising services.

"We are studying about having a securities joint venture. We are looking for a joint venture partner to apply for a securities license, but it takes time," C G Lai, chief executive of BNP Paribas China said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. 

We are studying about having a securities joint venture. We are looking for a joint venture partner to apply for a securities license, but it takes time"

BNP Paribas, which has had a presence in China dating back to 1860 when it opened its first office in Shanghai, has nearly 500 staff based in the country, with business ranging from banking, financing and advisory services.

The bank holds an 18% stake in Bank of Nanjing and a 49 per cent share in asset management company HFT Investment Management.

Chinese financial regulators are considering removing limits on foreign ownership of domestic financial institutions, a key concession that has been long sought by the US during the trade war negotiations.

Since November, Chinese authorities have approved plans by JPMorgan Chase, UBS Group and Nomura Holdings to take majority stakes in local securities ventures, but these joint ventures still cap foreign ownership at 51%.

Foreign investors and financial service providers have been looking to gain greater access to the Chinese market for years.