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Corruption probe stalls UBS, China Life talks

An investigation into corruption has reportedly stalled the plan by UBS and China Life Insurance Group to set up an asset management joint venture in China. They have not formally called off the negotiations but the then chairman of China Life Insurance Group, Wang Bin, was put under investigation by the country's corruption watchdog in January. China Life's asset management arm and the Swiss bank began negotiations in late 2020 to jointly form a wealth management company to manage money for mainly retail investors. The stalling of the talks underscores challenges for western financial firms looking to expand in China, even as the country has opened up for more foreign participation. An ensuing push by Beijing to lure foreign investors into the space led to a flurry of deals by global asset managers to form majority-owned ventures with Chinese lenders.

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