China is increasing its regulatory scrutiny of non-bank financial companies including Ant Group, the Chinese fintech conglomerate expected to raise as much as $30 bn in its initial public offering this year, Financial Times reported on Thursday.
According to state media reports China’s State Council, or cabinet, has approved regulations that would introduce licensing procedures for financial holding companies and, potentially, capital requirements.
The rules stipulate that non-financial enterprises with interests in entities in at least two financial segments, and which hold a majority stake or exercise control over those entities, must apply for a licence to establish a financial holding company, according to state news agency Xinhua.
While the full text of the new rules was not released on Thursday, a draft version of related regulations published by the People’s Bank of China last year included a requirement that financial holding companies hold levels of capital “commensurate with the scale of their assets and risk level”.
An employee at one of the companies likely to be affected by the new regulations said they were meant to “put a lid on acquisition sprees”.