Intesa Sanpaolo blazes a trail Chinese wealth management business

Italy’s largest retail lender gains approval to offer wealth management services to rich Chinese with its wholly owned Yi Tsai subsidiary.

Intesa Sanpaolo has become the first foreign bank to offer wealth management services in China, through a wholly-owned subsidiary that will target high net worth clients in the world’s second largest economy.

Its Yi Tsai subsidiary was awarded a fund distribution licence following a pilot project in the busy Chinese trade hub of Qingdao and will focus on expanding its services throughout the country.

“Our objective is to offer high-end clients a full range of advisory services geared towards long-term wealth management and financial planning, drawing on our expertise and reputation which are recognised by the leading international financial institutions,” said Carlo Messina, chief executive of Intesa Sanpaolo. Yi Tsai, meaning “Italian talent”, was created in 2016.

Located on China’s east coast, Qingdao has become a financial hub after having been designated as the pilot zone for wealth management in 2014, as part of the government’s 13th five-year plan and is now home to around 800 financial organisations.

Under the terms of the licence, Yi Tsai will distribute Public Funds and Privately Distributed Funds carefully selected from the product range offered by Penghua, an affiliate of Intesa Sanpaolo’s Eurizon Capital, and from the best asset management companies in China. Distribution will be done by Yi Tsai’s network of financial advisers.

“With Yi Tsai, we have taken an important step forward in developing Intesa Sanpaolo's wealth management business on an international scale,” Messina said.

The awarding of the licence is not the only recent achievement for Intesa Sanpaolo. During a ceremony held on December 10, Intesa Sanpaolo received the Silk Road Award, “a recognition given to Italian companies that have stood out for their outstanding long-term growth and development over the years in the Chinese market”.

Paola Angeletti, head of the International Subsidiary Banks Division, who received the award, highlighted the importance placed on the development of the wealth management business in China in the group's 2018-2021 business plan.

Amanda Cooper