Chinese Non-banking financial entities in precarious state

Vinod Kothari, Director |

One of the trust companies defaults; other casualties likely

Chinese financial system is opaque and intriguing, for any outside trying to understand it. Regulatory framework is also mostly spasmodic, and given the fact that Chinese regulators do not follow global institutions or their regulations, Chinese institutions have developed along their own lines.

One of the non-banking financial entities in China is “trust companies”, somewhat similar to private collective investment vehicles or alternative investment funds seen elsewhere. These trust companies mostly invest in activities closely mimicking the lending of banks, while at the same time not being regulated as such. The size of the shadow banking industry in China, better known as “non banking financial intermediaries” (NBFIs) is huge, and is the second largest in the world, next only to the USA. Of the NBFIs, trust companies were estimated to be about USD 4 trillion, and 79% of the trust companies are based out of China, as per data as of end-December, 2021, appearing in the NBFI  report of the Financial Stability Board.

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