CIC Chief Urges Greater Transparency

BEIJING (Reuters) – A top official at China’s sovereign wealth fund has urged it to become more transparent to quiet fears about its motives and generate a better environment abroad for its investments.

China Investment Corp (CIC), the country’s $200 billion wealth fund, is viewed overseas as opaque, its deputy manager, Xie Ping, said in an article.

“Our sovereign wealth fund should and could do its best to increase its transparency under the precondition of not touching on commercial secrets,” Xie wrote in the latest issue of the Chinese-language Economic Research Journal.

CIC has repeatedly said since its inception in 2007 that it is exclusively commercially driven but it has still encountered a frosty reception abroad and had difficulty convincing other countries that it is not pursuing a more political agenda.

“By revealing in a timely manner investment targets, organisational structure, financial information, asset allocation information and more, we can strive to obtain the understanding of Western society and a good international investment environment,” Xie wrote.

A lack of transparency in sovereign wealth funds led foreigners to guess at their strategic intentions and ultimately to resist their investments, he wrote in the article that was co-authored by Chen Chao, who has been listed before as a member of CIC’s research department.

But they also said Western countries need to recognise that the rise of wealth funds reflected global economic changes and should give them a level playing field in investment regulations.

Gao Xiqing, CIC’s president, said last year that the fund had walked away from an investment opportunity in an unnamed country after its leaders flagged political concerns.

CIC officials have said they want to diversify the fund’s portfolio into the natural resources sector after booking heavy losses on high-profile financial investments in private equity firm Blackstone (BX.N) and U.S. bank Morgan Stanley (MS.N). (Reporting by Simon Rabinovitch; Editing by Ken Wills)