ICBC, Goldman Sachs Wealth Management JV Gets Regulatory Nod

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By Clarence Leong

Chinese regulators have approved a wealth management joint venture between Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., as the country further opens up its lucrative financial markets to foreign banks.

An ICBC unit will contribute 49% of the venture’s funding, while Goldman Sachs Asset Management will contribute the rest, according to a filing by ICBC to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday.

ICBC said the venture will help it provide more diversified and professional wealth management services, and improves the bank’s ability to serve the real economy.

Goldman Sachs has sought to deepen its investment in the world’s second-largest economy. Last December, it applied to take full control of Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Co. by acquiring the 49% share of the venture it didn’t own. Goldman Sachs was the first global bank to seek full ownership of its securities business in China.

Other global financial firms have been moving to expand wealth management offerings in China’s fast-growing financial market.

Earlier this month, BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, received the go-ahead from Chinese regulators to start a wealth management business in the country. In March, a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to buy a 10% stake in China Merchants Bank’s wealth management unit for around $410 million.

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