The mainland insurance watchdog is introducing new restrictions on insurers' equity investments, after the securities regulator slammed heavily leveraged takeovers.
Mainland insurers' returns fell in the first half, even as their assets grew, with alternatives now accounting for a third of AUM. Foreign asset managers may need to adapt their approach accordingly.
Rules governing Chinese insurers' overseas investments have been liberalised, allowing them to buy equities on Hong Kong's GEM market as well as lower-rated bonds. The move is intended to broaden their portfolios.
HK dollar investments account for 82% of mainland insurers' offshore portfolios, according to China's insurance regulator, cited by local media. This was reportedly the first disclosure of such data.
Morgan Stanley Investment Management has been building its Greater China distribution network and is eyeing expansion in Southeast Asia. It is also starting to export Asia strategies to the West.
Mainland life insurers are seeking training in areas such as asset allocation, asset-and-liability management and liability-driven investment, heralding a major shift in approach.