Sovereign wealth fund chief to lead China's CICC after chairman resigns

[SHANGHAI] China International Capital Corp (CICC) said on Thursday its chairman will step down and be replaced by the head of the country's sovereign wealth fund, the second change in top management at the investment bank in as many weeks.

Chairman Jin Liqun's departure comes a week after CICC's chief executive Levin Zhu, the son of the country's former Premier Zhu Rongji resigned.

Reuters reported last week that Jin would quit this year to take up a position at Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a regional development bank being set up by Beijing.

CICC, the country's first investment bank, said in a statement that Jin would be replaced by China Investment Corporation's (CIC) Chairman and Chief Executive Ding Xuedong, although it did not say when Ding would take up the new post.

A source with direct knowledge said Ding would remain as the chairman of the sovereign wealth fund.

The framework for the establishment of the AIIB is due to be signed on Friday, according to Economic Information Daily, a publication overseen by the official Xinhua news agency.

China often shuffles the senior management of its state-owned enterprises, analysts said. Before moving to CICC, Jin was the chairman of the board of supervisors of CIC. "This is quite normal, because for these large financial institutions, their management is still appointed by the government so they are semi-government officials," said Chen Xingyu, a Shanghai-based analyst for Phillip Securities (Hong Kong) Limited. "So the moves are part of a unified plan," he added, as appointments are all decided at the government level.

CIC is the major shareholder of investment company Central Huijin Investment, which in turn largely owns CICC. The board of Huijin Investment had proposed Ding, the head of its main shareholder as the chairman of CICC, a move agreed by CICC, the source said.

When contacted by Reuters, a CIC spokesman had no comment about the move.

Created in 2007, CIC is tasked with helping China invest its US$3.9 trillion-and-growing foreign exchange reserves. But due to the mammoth size of the country's national savings, the government set up other domestic funds that rival CIC in the hope of further improving returns.

Investment bank CICC has suffered an exodus of its top leadership this year, having lost Jiang Guorong, co-head of investment banking, and Marshall Nicholson, co-head of international investment banking.

Ding, born in 1960, has served in several high profile government positions, including as deputy secretary general of the State Council, China's cabinet, and vice minister of the Ministry of Finance.

Ding was appointed as the chairman of CIC in July last year.

CIC reported an annual return of 9.3 per cent in 2013. Its cumulative annualised return since inception is 5.7 per cent.


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