China's top regulator pledges reforms after MSCI decision

SHANGHAI - China's top regulator will work to improve the systems and rules for foreigners investing in the country's "A" shares, after 222 Chinese blue-chip companies were accepted for inclusion in a leading emerging markets benchmark, state media reported.

Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), told state broadcaster CCTV late on Wednesday that the regulator would implement reforms to internationalise the market, improve investors' access to the market, and encourage the development of products such as derivatives.

China finally won a long campaign for inclusion in US index provider MSCI Emerging Markets Index on Wednesday after having been rejected for three years running. Its acceptance was seen as a milestone for global investing.

"In short, there will be more foreign funds entering the 'A'share market," Fang said in comments carried by the Shanghai Securities News newspaper.

"At the moment there are some in the stock exchange who are sitting idle and making money. In future they may be asked to promote globally to persuade more good companies to remain in the 'A' share market, and when conditions are ripe, to attract global companies to list on the 'A' share market," he said.

Fang said that the regulator would also look at problems hindering large funds from entering and leaving the market, including possibly reforming the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) programme which allows foreigners to invest in Chinese capital markets.

MSCI has been in discussions with Chinese regulators and global investors for four years over whether to add yuan-denominated shares to the Emerging Markets Index - tracked by around US$1.6 trillion (S$2.2 trillion) in assets - but excluded them because of restricted access to China's equity markets.

The decision, hailed as "historic" by investors, came as the company said China had made enough progress in opening up its markets for MSCI to add the selection of 222 large-cap stocks to its Emerging Markets Index.