HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of China (HK) among 19 lenders approved to sell Wealth Management Connect products

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Wealth Management Connect, Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong Monetary Authority

HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of China (Hong Kong) – the city’s three note-issuing banks – are among the 19 Hong Kong lenders that received the greenlight to sell investment products under the Wealth Management Connect scheme in the Greater Bay Area from Tuesday.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority on Monday said 16 banks can sell products in Hong Kong and the mainland, while three banks can only sell products to mainland residents via the southbound route.

The launch of the cross-border Wealth Management Connect on September 10 – Beijing’s first scheme tailor-made for the 11 cities of the Greater Bay Area – marks a further opening up of China’s capital market. The scheme has an initial quota of 300 billion yuan (US$46.5 billion) in fund flows in both directions, but each investor is only allowed to trade up to 1 million yuan on a net remittance basis.

While the scheme was announced last month, the HKMA granted approval to sell products from Tuesday following tests of the banks’ internal controls and systems readiness.

“Considering that it will be the first time for retail investors to conduct cross-boundary investments, we will closely monitor the operation of the cross-boundary Wealth Management Connect and step up investor education and investor protection work together with the industry,” HKMA chief executive Eddie Yue Wai-man said in a statement.

Apart from the three note-issuing banks, some of the other lenders include Citibank (Hong Kong), Hang Seng Bank, OCBC Wing Hang Bank and Nanyang Commercial Bank as well as the Hong Kong subsidiaries of the mainland’s biggest banks, such as ICBC (Asia), Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of Communications (Hong Kong) and China Construction Bank (Asia).

The three Hong Kong lenders that can only sell products via the southbound route are Bank of East Asia, DBS and Dah Sing Bank.

Most Hong Kong lenders have teamed up with their mainland parent or subsidiary. Some special tie-ups include OCBC Wing Hang Bank with Ping An Bank, and Citibank (Hong Kong) with China Guangfa Bank. DBS (Hong Kong) is the only one with two mainland partners – DBS Bank (China) and Postal Savings Bank of China.

HSBC said it plans to set up about 60 Wealth Management Connect centres in its existing Greater Bay Area retail outlets, where it will sell around 100 investment products in mutual funds, bonds and 11 foreign currencies to mainland investors.

Greater Bay Area is one of the wealthiest regions in the country with over 450,000 families holding at least 6 million yuan in investible assets,” said Greg Hingston, regional head of wealth and personal banking for Asia-Pacific at HSBC. “Yet, less than 20 per cent of Greater Bay Area residents in mainland China have overseas wealth products in their portfolios. The launch of Wealth Management Connect opens a new window for investment and stimulates demand for cross-boundary wealth management solutions.”

Hang Seng Bank, a subsidiary of HSBC, said it will offer 140 low-risk wealth management products to mainland investors, while Bank of China (HK) will offer 100 investment products in both directions.

“The Wealth Management Connect will boost Hong Kong’s status as an international asset management centre. It will also drive the demand for cross border account opening, remittance and foreign exchange,” said Sun Yu, vice-chairman and chief executive of Bank of China (HK).

Separately, the Monetary Authority of Macau on Monday also announced seven banks can launch Wealth Management Connect services from Tuesday.

They are Bank of China, Bank of Communications, China Construction Bank, China Guangfa Bank, CMB Wing Lung Bank, ICBC and Luso International Banking.

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