* Insurance funds can invest in more areas, product types
* Funds can now invest 30 pct in domestic wealth management
SHANGHAI Oct 23 China's Insurance Regulatory
Commission (CIRC) widened overseas investment options for its
massive domestic insurance sector, naming 45 new countries where
the insurers will now be able to allocate assets and expanding
the list of allowed asset classes.
In a statement issued late on Monday, CIRC said it lifted
the restriction limiting Chinese domestic insurers to invest
only in Hong Kong to the 45 countries, which it said were 25
developed economies and 20 developing economies.
However, the quota of year-end total assets domestic
insurance funds can invest abroad has not been increased,
remaining at 15 percent of total insurance assets of 6.6
trillion yuan or $150 billion.
Approved asset classes have been expanded from equities and
bonds to real estate, currency products fixed-income products
The CIRC announcement also widened the scope of investments
Chinese insurers can make onshore, increasing the share of total
funds they may invest in wealth management products, trust
products, real estate and infrastructure projects.
The move is the latest in a series of policy
liberalisations directed at China's insurers in 2012, which have
struggled with low returns and asset depreciation.
China Life, the world's largest insurer by market
value, issued a profit warning on Oct. 18 signalling its first
quarterly loss since 2008, sending its Hong Kong-listed shares
down as much as 4 percent.