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BEIJING, Sept 14 (Reuters) – China’s Anbang Insurance Group said on Monday that it will apply to the country’s banking and insurance regulator to disband and liquidate the company, a step towards the official end of the once high-flying conglomerate.
The government took control of Anbang in February 2018 as part of a nationwide campaign to reduce financial risk in the aftermath of a massive asset-buying spree by a handful of private-sector conglomerates.
Anbang’s ex-chairman, Wu Xiaohui, was sentenced by authorities to 18 years in prison for fundraising fraud and embezzlement. Regulators also sped up asset sales of Anbang, including banks, insurance arms and overseas hotel assets it held stakes in, “to limit the loss caused by illegal activities of Wu”.
In February 2020, two years after the seizure, China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said it had finished running Anbang, and the revamped entity Dajia Insurance Group, a new company formed to take over assets from Anbang, was close to a decision on introducing a batch of strategic investors.
After the Anbang take-over, China has tightened regulations on the country’s financial holdings companies to defuse risks accumulated by a group of non-financial firms that it says expanded blindly into the financial sector.
On Sunday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) issued related new rules, setting requirements on registered capital, total assets, and assets under management on eligible financial holdings firms.
Anbang’s risk settlement is nearing completion under the country’s financial stability department, said Pan Gongsheng, vice governor of the central bank, at a Monday briefing. (Reporting by Cheng Leng and Ryan Woo in Beijing; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)