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Insurer sees 40% return in overseas stock investment
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China Life Insurance Co Ltd, the country's biggest life insurer, saw hefty returns from its overseas stock investments last year, the company said.

China Life's overseas asset management unit -- China Life Franklin Asset Management Co Ltd -- helped its parent company achieve a 39.6 percent return in overseas stock investment in 2007, which was 6.73 percentage points higher than the average return ratio in the Hong Kong stock market. The asset management unit was jointly established by China Life and Franklin Templeton Investments, the largest asset management company for public enterprises in the United States, and it started to operate in overseas markets last May.

The venture is part of China Life's overseas expansion plan, which allows insurers to invest in foreign fixed income instruments, stocks and warrants or to buy foreign currencies.

"Under regulations, overseas investment shall not exceed 15 percent of the company's total assets of the previous year, and we used only five percent last year," said the company. Officials said that they expected higher returns in the future.

"We have introduced advanced investment ideas and methods from the world's top-ranked financial institutions since the establishment of the asset management unit, and this contributed much to our company," said Zhao Wei, chairman of China Life Franklin Asset Management Co Ltd.

Zhao said that the company was considering investments in other overseas markets beyond Hong Kong as the opportunity arose.

(Xinhua News Agency March 18, 2008)

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