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Anbang to be taken over by China regulators for one year

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Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese insurer that burst on to the global scene three years ago with a series of high-profile acquisitions, will be taken over by Chinese regulators after a probe that began in June.

[BEIJING] Anbang Insurance Group, the Chinese insurer that burst on to the global scene three years ago with a series of high-profile acquisitions, will be taken over by Chinese regulators after a probe that began in June.

Wu Xiaohui will be removed as chairman and will face prosecution, according to a statement on Friday. A team led by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, also with members from the central bank, banking, securities and foreign-exchange regulators, is taking over the company starting Feb 23, according to the statement, which added that Anbang's external liabilities won't be affected and the insurer's business will continue.

Illegal operations at Anbang may "seriously endanger" the company's solvency abilities, prompting the government to take control of the insurer, according to the statement. The Beijing-based company's operations currently remain "stable", the statement said.

Anbang, an insurer whose meteoric rise came to an abrupt halt after the authorities detained Wu in June, has been thrown into disarray as its funding and deal pace came under regulatory scrutiny. China's insurance regulator, along with the main banking watchdog, have announced a flurry of rules since last year to contain financial risks in the system.

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President Xi Jinping and his top economic deputies have vowed to make controlling financial risks their priority, a pledge renewed at the Communist Party's twice-a-decade leadership congress last year.  The conglomerate has almost two trillion yuan (S$416.2 billion) in assets and owns businesses spanning life and non-life insurance, asset management, financial leasing and banking, according to its website.

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