HSBC aims to launch its first life insurance joint venture in China in July or August and plans to offer pension services with a local partnership in the world's fastest growing major economy, a senior HSBC executive said on Thursday.
Europe's biggest bank is in the final stage of seeking approval from Chinese insurance regulators to launch its Beijing-based life insurance venture in which HSBC hopes to take a 50 percent stake, said Clive Bannister, head of the bank's insurance business. He said it may take 3-5 years for the insurance venture to make a profit, however.
If approved, the joint venture would have a nationwide business licence, which allows it to sell insurance products to Chinese clients through the branch networks of HSBC and its local partner Bank of Communications , Bannister said in an interview at the bank's headquarters.
HSBC is also discussing with Bank of Communications -- in which HSBC owns a near 20 percent stake -- on pension business cooperation, Bannister said.
However, it is not sure whether the two banks would eventually set up a joint venture or form a business alliance to tap China's infant but fast growing pension market, partly because Beijing is still finalizing the rules to allow banks to offer pension management services, he added.
In Britain, HSBC plans to expand its insurance business through organic growth, especially through its own bancassurance channel across the country, Bannister said.
He dismissed speculation that HSBC may grow its domestic insurance business through takeovers.(Agencies)