German insurance giant Allianz has received the regulatory green light to operate a fully-owned insurance holding company in China.
Approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) follows the Chinese government’s decision to open up its financial services sector by scrapping restrictions on foreign ownership limits.
The rule covers securities, fund management, and futures companies as well as life insurers.
Named Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Company, the new venture is based in Shanghai.
Sergio Balbinot has been named as chairman of the new venture, while Solmaz Altin will serve as its first CEO.
Allianz, which has been present in China since the early 1910s, currently employs over 2,000 people in the country. It offers a wide array of services across protection, risk management and asset management.
The German said that it intends to use the new venture to support its growth ambitions in China.
Balbinot said: “Allianz is extremely optimistic on China and we are committed to accelerating our growth plans in this strategic market. The regulatory approval for the holding company is an important landmark for our business and puts us in priority position to maximize on the opening up of the Chinese economy.”
Altin commented: “With the new holding structure in place, we are able to better serve an expanding middle class with our range of financial solutions. Allianz aims to play a larger role in China’s insurance sector and grow with the market.
“We will continue to work under the guidance of the regulator to deepen our participation in a more open financial market to support the country’s economic growth.”
In August this year, Allianz agreed to acquire the automobile and other property/casualty (P&C) insurance units from Brazil’s SulAmérica in a deal worth $728.19m.
In June, Allianz agreed to acquire the general insurance operations of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society (LV=) as well as that of Legal & General (L&G) for £365m ($461m), to bolster its presence in the UK.
During the same month, the German insurer also signed an agreement with Spanish lender Banco Santander to offload its 60% stake in the Allianz bancassurance joint venture (JV) Allianz Popular for €936.5m ($1bn).