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China to set up state pension company with 17 firms taking stakes

BEIJING :China plans to set up a state pension company with registered capital of 11.15 billion yuan (US$1.72 billion), a filing showed on Thursday, the latest step by the world's most populous nation to boost funds for its citizens' retirement.

China is wooing booth public and private sector involvement as it tweaks its US$1.2-trillion pension system for a rapidly ageing population faced with the prospect of underfunding.

Seventeen bank-affiliated wealth management units, insurers and state institutions will take stakes in the company, whose largest shareholders include the wealth management units of China's big five banks, each with a stake of 8.97per cent, the filing by the Insurance Association of China showed.

The new company will manage commercial pension funds, short-term and long-term health insurance, and entrust yuan or foreign currency-denominated assets to other asset managers for retirement purposes, the filing showed.

In May, census data showed citizens aged 65 or more made up 13.5per cent of the 2020 population of 1.4 billion, jumping from 8.87per cent a decade ago.

To remedy growing pension shortfalls, China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) is considering endorsing a list of private pension funds and appointing a group of professional managers to run them under a new scheme, Reuters has reported.

The 17 firms, among them China's largest brokerage CITIC Securities Co, Taikang Life Insurance, and the investment arm of Beijing's State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission, said they would use their own funds to invest in the new company instead of leveraged funds.

The establishment of the new firm awaits regulatory approval from the CBIRC, the filing showed.

(US$1=6.4928 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Cheng Leng, Zhang Yan and Ryan Woo; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: Reuters

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