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China reviews giving banks stock broking licences: regulator

[SHANGHAI] China is considering issuing banks with brokerage licences as part of reforms that will permit financial institutions to conduct mixed businesses to boost their performance and develop the capital market, the stock regulator said on Friday.

The government's stock market development blueprint issued last year has encouraged such mixture and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) is studying details on implementation, the regulator said on its official Weibo. "While such study is going on and must go through necessary procedures, there is no timetable to announce related policies,"the CSRC said.

Last year, profits more than doubled at brokerages as a jump in the number of retail investors caused trading volumes to soar.

A surprise interest rate cut by the central bank in November and the launch of a scheme between Hong Kong and Shanghai the same month, allowing direct trading of stocks on each other's bourses, also helped boost stock market volume.

The CSRC on Wednesday granted online brokerage licences to 20 firms in a fresh round of approvals, showing the growing interest in the sector as Internet finance takes off in the country and greater retail interest boosts brokers' earnings.