July 10, 2019 / 9:36 AM / a month ago

Italy's Generali, CDP urge China to open up finance sector

MILAN (Reuters) - Two of Italy’s largest financial institutions, insurer Assicurazioni Generali (GASI.MI) and state fund CDP on Wednesday urged China to do more to open up its financial services industry to Italian firms and other foreign groups.

FILE PHOTO: The Generali logo is seen on the company's building in Milan, Italy November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

Generali’s international business chief, Jaime Anchustegui, told an Italy-China financial forum in Milan that he hoped foreign firms would be able to take controlling stakes in life insurance businesses in China.

“We hope that foreign investors will have the possibility to take control ... in the life market,” Anchustegui said.

Earlier, the chief financial officer of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, Paolo Calcagnini, made a similar call at the forum, which was attended by top Chinese banking executives and regulators.

The United States and other countries in the West have criticized China for blocking foreign access to its financial markets. But more recently China has taken a softer line.

Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang said China had pledged to end ownership limits for foreign investors in its financial sector in 2020, a year earlier than scheduled.

Italy’s insurance regulator IVASS and China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission later on Wednesday will sign a memorandum of understanding to make it easier to exchange information.

IVASS General Secretary Stefano De Polis said the two countries wanted to focus their collaboration on technological innovation in insurance, the impact of climate change on risk assessment and sustainable finance.

“IVASS can share its experience in fighting ... fraud and it is interested in progress achieved by the Chinese authorities in regulating and supervising digital insurance,” De Polis said in a statement.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giselda Vagnoni; Editing by Mark Bendeich and Jane Merriman

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