Ping An OK'ed to invest in PE, property

Updated: 2011-09-14 11:29


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SHANGHAI—Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd has obtained regulatory clearance to invest in private equity and real estate, the official Shanghai Securities News reported on Sept 14.

Total investment in the two areas by the world's No 2 insurer by market value could total 110 billion yuan ($17.2 billion), the newspaper reported citing unidentified sources.

Ping An will become the first Chinese insurer to obtain both PE and property investment licences, the paper said.

Last month, another local newspaper reported bigger rival China Life would become the first Chinese insurance company to be granted a license to invest in private equity.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said last year that insurers would be allowed to broaden their investment channels into private equity and real estate, a move that could unleash as much as $100 billion worth of capital into the two sectors.

Insurers are allowed to invest up to 5 percent of their total assets in private equity and related financial products and 10 percent in real estate.

Insurance companies previously had to apply for approval from the insurance regulator for every investment they made, but now have greater flexibility in selecting investments for their private equity operations as long as they comply with the 5 percent investment cap, according to media reports.