China’s “common prosperity” is positive for the wealth management industry

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The wealth management market in the world’s second-largest economy could reach 214 trillion yuan ($34 trillion) in investable assets for high net worth individuals in 2030, according to the Swiss bank’s report released on Wednesday.

But the revenue pool of private banking providers is in a wide range between 224 billion yuan and 1.030 billion yuan at the time, as the drive for common prosperity may bring more uncertainties to entrepreneurship, did he declare.

“Common prosperity” is a policy of President Xi Jinping aimed at narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Beijing encourages corporations to share their wealth as part of efforts to reduce inequality.

The campaign has raised some concerns as Beijing since last year has begun to tighten regulations targeting sectors that have accumulated considerable wealth, such as China’s booming tech industry.

UBS’s report said concerns about political uncertainties amid “Beijing’s goal to ‘reasonably regulate and adjust excessively high income'” could drive demand for geographic diversification and asset allocation offshore by wealthy individuals.

Entrepreneurship and innovation could be stifled if the appeal for voluntary donations is implemented in a way close to the government directive and becomes an “implicit cost” for businesses, he said. added.

Positive factors in the dynamics of common prosperity include alleviating the cost of living for households, limiting monopolistic practices aimed at crowding out small businesses, and encouraging the healthy development of capital markets, according to the report.

The number of high net worth individuals in China rose from 0.3 million in 2008 to 2.6 million in 2020, according to the UBS report, adding that growth was still the main driver behind the rise in overall investable assets.

Chinese household financial assets as a percentage of nominal gross domestic product are projected to rise from 161% in 2019 to 225% in 2030 under the most optimistic scenario, the report notes.

China’s growing onshore wealth has prompted foreign companies, including UBS itself, to seek ties with domestic lenders that are seen as best placed to benefit, as well as with the country’s brokerage firms.

UBS has moved towards forming majority-owned wealth management businesses with China’s largest insurer China Life, following other institutions such as BlackRock, Amundi, Schroders and BNP Paribas.

(Reporting by Selena Li; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and David Holmes)

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