BlackRock granted direct access to China's financial markets

LONDON, April 16 Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:33am EDT

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - BlackRock, the world's biggest asset manager, said it had been awarded a licence to invest directly in China's mainland capital markets, giving investors some access to its stock and bond markets.

A Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) licence was given to BlackRock Asset Management North Asia Limited, the company said on Tuesday, and it will now apply for a quota to determine how much money it can invest.

"China is an important investment destination for our clients globally as it undergoes a pivotal transformation, and gradually internationalises its capital markets," Marc Desmidt, head of strategic product management for Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

The RQFII programme is part of China's move to liberalise its capital markets, improving two-way movement of investment money and allowing the yuan to trade more freely against other currencies.

The RQFII scheme was launched in 2011 in Hong Kong and later expanded to Taiwan, Singapore and London.

In January emerging markets-focused fund manager Ashmore became the first UK-based asset manager to be awarded an RQFII licence, part of London's drive to become a hub for offshore yuan trade. (Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Chris Vellacott, Greg Mahlich)

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