Caixin
Jun 04, 2021 07:29 PM
FINANCE

Exclusive: Bad-Debt Industry Veteran Named Huarong’s New Deputy Party Chief, Sources Say

Liang Qiang
Liang Qiang

Liang Qiang, the new president of bad-debt manager China Great Wall Asset Management Co. Ltd., was named deputy Communist Party chief of troubled China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd. on Friday, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin.

The appointment was announced by officials from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), the country’s top banking regulator, at an internal Huarong meeting in Beijing, the sources said. Liang will also likely take the job as Huarong’s president after going through the necessary procedures, they said.

Liang’s transfer between two of China’s so-called “Big Four” state-owned asset management companies (AMCs) came as a surprise to the industry.

Just over two weeks ago, on May 19, the CBIRC approved (link in Chinese) Liang as the new president of China Great Wall, which shocked many as he had been widely expected to become the new Huarong president. Separate sources had told Caixin previously that Liang had been reluctant to serve as Huarong president before taking on the China Great Wall role.

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Huarong, the largest of China’s Big Four AMCs by total assets, has been shaken since the downfall of its former chairman, Lai Xiaomin, in April 2018. Lai was executed in January for crimes including bribery. In the past two months, Huarong’s offshore bonds plunged as it failed to release its annual report at the end of March amid uncertainties surrounding its restructuring.

The post of Huarong president, the second-most senior leadership position after the chairman, has been vacant since November when former President Li Xin retired. Since then, Wang Wenjie, vice president of Huarong, has handled the duties of president.

China’s Big Four AMCs were created in 1999 to take over nonperforming assets (NPAs) of the country’s biggest state-owned banks. Among them, China Great Wall is the smallest, with total assets equivalent to just about one-third of Huarong’s at the end of June 2020.

Liang, 50, has extensive experience in the AMC industry, having served as vice president of China Orient Asset Management Co. Ltd., another of the Big Four AMCs, overseeing the company’s NPA disposal business. Before that, he spent 20 years at China Cinda Asset Management Co. Ltd., the second largest of the Big Four.

Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com) and editor Lin Jinbing (jinbinglin@caixin.com)

Read more about Huarong and Lai Xiaomin’s case:

Exclusive: Huarong Gets New President Amid Pressure on Bonds

Five Things to Know About Huarong’s Debt Troubles

Disgraced Financial Bigshot Accused of Taking More Bribes Than Anyone Else in China

Exclusive: Fallen Chief of Bad-Asset Manager Had Tons of Cash — Literally

In Depth: Bad Business at a ‘Bad Bank’

Ling Huawei: Huarong Is Nowhere Near Defaulting on Offshore Bonds

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