What is the development and the key highlights?
Banking, being a part of financial service industry, has now been fully opened to foreign investment. There is no foreign shareholding restriction on the banking sector. However, wholly foreign-owned banks, joint venture banks (the WFOE/JV Bank) and branches of foreign banks (collectively the FIE Bank(s)) are still subject to separate regulations. Only the banks with foreign shareholdings acquired through acquisition or share participation are regulated in the same way as domestic banks.
The table below lists the main requirements for FIE Banks, which may not apply to domestic banks. You will notice some inconsistency between the different regulations. The application of certain requirements can vary depending on the circumstances. Please contact us should be there anything you wish to discuss.
|Negative Lists1||FIE Banks Licensing Measures (2018 Edition)2||FIE Banks Regulations (2018 Draft Amendments)3|
|Is there any foreign shareholding restriction?||No||No||No|
|Who can be a foreign shareholder of a FIE Bank?||N/A||
Financial institution, but the only or controlling foreign shareholder must be a commercial bank whose:
|Same as required under the FIE Banks Licensing Measures, but no reference to the reduced threshold for HK and Macau bank shareholders|
|Is a foreign bank allowed to set up a branch and a subsidiary bank at the same time?||N/A||N/A||Yes, but branches can only conduct wholesale business (for both RMB and foreign currency)|
|What is the minimum capital requirement for a FIE Bank?||N/A||
For a WFOE/JV Bank: N/A
For a branch: RMB200 million or forex equivalent allocated unconditionally from parent bank.
For a WFOE/JV Bank: RMB1 billion or forex equivalent
For a branch:
|Does a FIE Bank need to wait a year before applying for RMB licence?||N/A||Yes||No, RMB licence and business opening approval can be applied at the same time.|
|Guo Fa  No. 574||Shanghai FTZ Financial Service Industry Guidance (2017 Edition)5||Shanghai FEI Banks Service Guideline (2019 Edition)6|
|Is there any foreign shareholding restriction?||No||No||No|
|Who can be a foreign shareholder of a FIE Bank?||N/A||The only or controlling foreign shareholder of a WFOE/JV Bank and branch’s parent bank must meet certain assets thresholds.||Same as required under the FIE Banks Licensing Measures|
|Is a foreign bank allowed to set up a branch and a subsidiary bank at the same time?||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|What is the minimum capital requirement for a FIE Bank?||N/A||For a WFOE/JV Bank: N/A For a branch, operational fund allocated from parent bank must meet corresponding requirement.||Same as required under the FIE Banks Licensing Measures|
|Does a FIE Bank need to wait a year before applying for RMB licence?||1-year waiting period requirement has been “temporarily suspended” from May 5, 2018 for FIE Banks located in a Free Trade Zone.||N/A||Yes|
What does this mean for your business?
- A foreign bank is now permitted to set up its controlled joint venture bank in China, if it has not set up a wholly-owned subsidiary bank;
- A foreign bank is now permitted to hold a branch and a WFOE/JV Bank at the same time;
- A foreign bank is now permitted to open a branch to conduct both forex and RMB business at the same time if and when the branch is opened in a Free Trade Zone;
- The minimum capital requirement for setting up a WFOE/JV Bank tends to be reduced though in practice a higher capital injection is always welcomed;
- The business allowed to be conducted by a WFOE/JV Banks is extended and essentially the same as domestic banks’ business, but business allowed to be conducted by a foreign bank’s branch is still subject to certain restrictions;
- Certain business which previously required prior approval from CBIRC are now only subject to filing requirements;
- Certain thresholds for operation funds and assets tests are potentially lower.
- Negative Lists includes (i) the Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access, (ii) the Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access to Pilot Free Trade Zones and (iii) the Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access to China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.
- Implementation Measures for the Administrative Licensing Items concerning Foreign-Funded Banks (2018 Revision) issued by CBIRC in February 2018
- Regulation on the Administration of Foreign-Funded Banks and its Detailed Rules for Implementation (Draft amendments published in November 2018)
- Decisions on Temporarily Adjustment of Relevant Administrative Rules, State Council’s Circulars and Industrial Regulations Approved by the State Council in the Pilot Free Trade Zones made by the State Council on December 25, 2017
- Guidance on the Negative List for the Opening-up of the Financial Service Industry in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (2017 Edition)
- Service Guideline on the Examination and Approval of the Establishment, Change and Termination of the Subsidiaries and Branches of Foreign-Funded Banks issued by Shanghai CBIRC in July 2019
EU Taxonomy Regulation and aviation: A transition to sustainability
On 5 April 2023 the long-awaited draft amendment to Delegated Act EU 2021/2139 including draft technical screening criteria in Annex 1 (the Draft Delegated Act) was published by the European Commission heralding the inclusion of aviation as a transitional activity within the EU Taxonomy Regulation. Following consultation, the draft was then updated on 13 June 2023 and published as part of the European Commission’s sustainable finance framework.
Financial Reporting Council call for evidence regarding UK’s endorsement of the recently issued Sustainability Standards
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued a call for evidence (the Call for Evidence) to collect views regarding the proposed endorsement by the UK government in respect of the first two IFRS Sustainability Disclosure Standards issued by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) in June 2023.