Caixin
Jan 26, 2019 05:29 PM

Chair of World’s Most Profitable Bank Named China’s Top Securities Watchdog

Yi Huiman. VCG
Yi Huiman. VCG

China has appointed the head of the world’s largest bank as its top securities regulator.

Veteran banker Yi Huiman, chairman of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC), has been named Communist Party chief and chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), succeeding Liu Shiyu, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday (link in Chinese). State-owned ICBC, listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong, has ranked first among all banks in the world in terms of total assets, revenues, or profits in recent years.

The appointment comes as China’s stock market remains weak amid a cooling economy, providing a good opportunity for reforms in the domestic securities market. Expected reforms include setting up a high-tech board to broaden technology firms’ ability to list, and launching a registration-based system for initial public offerings.

Yi, 54, had recently received a personnel evaluation by the party department that oversees the appointment of high-level government officials, Caixin reported earlier this week. Multiple sources familiar with the matter said Yi was expected to be appointed to a higher post than his vice-ministerial-level rank as ICBC chair.

“He’s a very capable person, and has done a good job in recent years,” a former senior executive of ICBC told Caixin, describing Yi as smart and diligent. He is well versed in the operating details of the bank’s basic businesses, the person said.

Over the past 34 years, Yi had clambered up the corporate ladder within ICBC, becoming president in 2013 and chairman in 2016. He has a reputation for being skilled at resolving major risks that the bank faced.

Liu, 57, has been named head of the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, Caixin has learned from sources close to the CSRC. The state-backed organization manages supply and marketing for major agricultural goods nationwide. Liu had been chair of the CSRC since early 2016. He is also a member of the monetary policy committee of the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.

As of publication time on Saturday, ICBC hasn’t disclosed information about Yi’s new appointment through the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges.

Contact reporters Lin Jinbing (jinbinglin@caixin.com) and Leng Cheng (chengleng@caixin.com)

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