China has named Guo Shuqing as the head of the newly formed regulator for the banking and insurance sectors, financial publication Caixin reported on Wednesday without citing a direct source.
Guo had been the head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, which was merged with the China Insurance Regulatory Commission as part of a broader government reshuffle approved by parliament last week.
Guo, 61, is not only highly regarded as one of China’s most experienced financial services professionals, but he also stands out from Chinese bureaucrats as a reform-minded policymaker who is willing to take aggressive steps.
The merger of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) is aimed at resolving existing problems such as unclear responsibilities and cross-regulation, according to a document released during China’s annual parliament meeting, which ended on Tuesday.
The move along with others approved by parliament will give authorities more clout as the government begins the second year of a crackdown on risks in the financial system such as riskier types of financing and shadow banking.
The new merged entity will report directly to the State Council, although the function of making important laws and regulations of the CBRC and CIRC have been transferred to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) as the central bank takes on a bigger role.
All the seven existing vice chairmen from both the CBRC and CIRC will remain in their posts, according to Caixin.
Guo, a philosophy major and once a visiting scholar at Oxford University, previously also served as a deputy central bank governor, the top foreign exchange regulator and a deputy governor of Guizhou province.
He steered China Construction Bank Corp. (CCB) to a successful public listing in Hong Kong in 2005 – the first among Chinese banks – and then in late 2007 on the Shanghai bourse.
In February last year, Guo stepped down as governor of Shandong province to take control of China’s banking regulator.
During his first month as CBRC chairman, he started what was widely dubbed a “regulatory windstorm,” implementing a flurry of new measures to tackle the banking industry’s most complex problems from shadow banking and regulatory arbitrage to hidden bad debt.
(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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