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Capital Markets

As Wealth Connect launches, China risk rises

Last week, four global banks unveiled cross-border wealth management services under the banner of Wealth Connect, but with the crisis at Evergrande unresolved and growth slipping, the scheme comes at a tricky moment.

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And they’re off and running in China.

On October 19, both HSBC and Standard Chartered launched cross-border wealth management services aimed at wealthy individuals living in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), which spans Hong Kong, Macau and central Guangdong province.

At the same time, Citi announced a strategic tie-up with Guangzhou-based China Guangfa Bank, while DBS Bank’s Hong Kong arm has unveiled a partnership with Postal Savings Bank of China.

The models may differ, but for both banks the aim is the same: to profit from a new lifting – even if it is by just a few millimetres – of the country’s great financial curtain.

Assuming Beijing does not take a backward step on liberalization – a situation that is currently not impossible to imagine – Wealth Management Connect, or ‘Wealth Connect’ as it is known, is here to stay.

We have covered the scheme before, and some of its basics are unaltered: Wealth Connect has a total size or quota of Rmb300 billion ($47 billion); and investors living in the GBA are restricted to investing no more than Rmb1 million of their personal wealth in lower-risk products such as equity and bond funds.

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