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作者: 来源: 日期:2016-12-07 8:58:15

China clamps down on insurance companies’ buying spree





Chinese regulators have intensified their crackdown on insurers’ use of high-risk, high-return products, which are often used to fund corporate deals.



The clampdown comes days after the country’s securities regulator separately denounced companies making highly leveraged takeovers as “barbarians” and “robbers”.



The China Insurance Regulatory Commission on Tuesday said it had barred Foresea Life Insurance from issuing “universal insurance” products.

中国保险监督管理委员会(CIRC)周二表示,其已对前海人寿(Foresea Life Insurance)采取停止其开展“万能险”新业务的监管措施。


Foresea is a unit of privately held insurance conglomerate Baoneng, which has been locked in a hostile takeover of property developer China Vanke for a year and has used the proceeds from sales of such products to finance its pursuit.

前海人寿是私有保险集团宝能(Baoneng)旗下的公司。宝能投入对房地产开发商万科(China Vanke)的敌意收购已有一年,并利用了此类产品的销售所得为这项努力提供资金。


The CIRC also said it had halted online sales of universal insurance products by six major insurers, including Evergrande, which is competing with Baoneng to take over Vanke.



Regulators have become increasingly wary as Chinese insurers have made a series of highly leveraged acquisitions in recent years. Such concerns were believed to be part of the reason Anbang Insurance withdrew its $14bn bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

随着中国各保险公司近年来进行了一系列高杠杆收购,监管机构已变得越来越警惕。他们的担忧被认为是安邦保险(Anbang Insurance)取消对喜达屋酒店及度假村(Starwood Hotels & Resorts) 140亿美元收购的部分原因。


If you use funds from questionable sources to undertake highly leveraged buyouts, and turn from an [industry] stranger to a barbarian, and finally become a robber, this is not acceptable,” said Liu Shiyu, head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, in a weekend broadside.



Earlier this year, the chair of the CIRC warned against insurers, awash with cash from universal insurance premiums, becoming “automatic teller machines” for takeovers.



Insurers use the premiums from universal insurance products to buy stocks, which they then use as collateral to buy more stocks, thus leveraging up and increasing their returns,” said Zhou Hao of Commerzbank. “It could create a vicious spiral if stock prices fall.”



Universal insurance products combine an insurance component — a death benefit — with a high-return investment in a variety of assets including equities and shadow-banking loans. Foresea’s universal insurance products offered returns of between 4 and 8 per cent a year, making them attractive short-term investments for retail customers.



Analysts have expressed concerns about the financial risks inherent in this model, in which insurers rely on customers rolling over their short-term plans in order to stay solvent.



The aim of tightening regulation is to guide insurers back to making traditional conservative investments, as opposed to acting like aggressive asset managers," said Jonas Short, head of Beijing-based NSBO China, a policy research firm.

“收紧监管的目的是指导保险公司重拾传统的保守型投资,而不是像激进的资产管理公司那样操作,”投资银行蓝橡资本(NSBO)北京负责人乔纳斯•肖特(Jonas Short)表示。


The sale of universal insurance products surged this year, with as many sold in the first five months as in the whole of last year, according to data collected by FT Confidential Research. Premiums from these products made up over 80 per cent of the insurance industry’s total premium revenue in January through October, according to CIRC data collected by NSBO.

根据英国《金融时报》旗下研究服务部门“投资参考”(FT Confidential Research)收集的数据,今年万能险产品销售激增,前5个月就达到去年全年的销售量。根据NSBO收集的中国保监会数据,来自此类产品的保费收入占110月占保险业总保费收入的80%以上。


Foresea sold over Rmb70bn ($10bn) worth of universal insurance products in the year to October, making it the country’s fifth-largest seller of such plans.