Singapore banks invited to apply for licence to invest directly in China securities

Singapore financial institutions keen on investing directly into China's securities market can now apply for a licence to do so.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Friday it has opened applications for the Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) licence, which will also allow banks to offers yuan-denominated investment products to their clients.

All Singapore-incorporated financial institutions that are approved by MAS to conduct fund management activities may apply for the licence, the regulator said.

It added that the applications are to be made to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) via approved custodian banks.

Singapore was included in the RQFII programme in October last year, with a quota of 50 billion yuan for financial institutions here to buy into the mainland securities market.

The initiative was introduced alongside other moves that boosted Singapore's status as an offshore yuan hub, such as allowing direct currency trading between the yuan and the Singapore dollar. This would save trading costs for investors by eliminating the need to first convert either currency into the US dollar.

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