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Fund sales firms may win the nod
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China's stock regulator will resume approving the set-up of specialized fund sales firms this year as it helps smaller industry players market products and give consumers better choices, sources said yesterday.

The authority may issue licenses to a number of financial-services providers such as financial Website operators and consultancies to let them form units to specialize in fund sales, according to people familiar with the matter.

Companies likely to receive the licenses include, the country's leading financial-news portal, and a slew of large consulting agencies in Shanghai and Shenzhen, the sources said.

Currently, funds are sold by the companies that manage them, brokers, commercial banks and the post office. Consulting firm TX Investment Consulting Co is the only approved fund-sales agent besides these financial institutions.

"Regulators have been considering such a proposal since early last year," said a Shanghai-based fund source briefed on the situation. "They hope to set up a platform for smaller fund firms which usually have a limited sales network. And also, they want to beef up oversight of fund sales."

The total size of China's mutual-fund industry has more than tripled last year to three trillion yuan (US$417 billion).

(Shanghai Daily February 21, 2008)

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