BMO Financial Group to step up investments in China
Asia boss urges investors to look at broader view, ignore short-term ‘noise’
BMO Financial Group said it will step up its investments in China, as the financial services provider based in North America remains bullish about the Chinese economy in the long run.
BMO’s CEO Asia, Albert Yu, said the broader picture remained compelling and investors should not be distracted by more immediate market concerns about economic growth and nonperforming loans.
“This is all short-term noise,” he said. “I would urge players in the market not to let this noise change your decisions.”
In the short term people would continue to see worrying pressures based on existing trends in the economy. But the government was taking a number of steps, either through the regulators or through all the fiscal tools at its disposal, to solve the problems.
“I think China will be successful in moving to a more consumer and technologydriven economy. I’ ll take a five to 10-year view. We’ ll ride out the noise... we’ ll continue to invest and we believe we can gain market share by stepping up,” he said.
Yu added that the financial group in the current circumstances was pivoting its efforts toward what it called “growthoriented business,” including private banking, trading products and asset management.
Apart from expanding its offshore private banking business in China’s Hong Kong and Singapore to serve local clients and provide investment solutions on the existing offshore wealth of affluent Chinese, BMO is keeping an eye on the further develop- ment of onshore private banking in the Chinese mainland in the hope of taking advantage of the market’s growth.
Yu said his group was interested in tapping into more ultra high net worth customers and working with partners to set up joint ventures. It could, down the road, be interested in more asset management business, subject to regulatory approval, he added.
In terms of trading products, BMO wants to be involved in the sales and trading of renminbi domestic bonds in the Chinese mainland.
Shortly after the People’s Bank of China issued new guidance earlier this year, allowing foreign institutional investors to buy renminbi bonds through a direct mechanism without quota, Yu met with clients in North America.
They asked him how to get involved and he said BMO was trying to help them.
I think China will be successful in moving to a more consumer and technology-driven economy.” Albert Yu, BMO’s CEO Asia
Traders work on the Bank of Montreal trading floor in Toronto.