Chinese Pump Record Money Into Hong Kong Insurance Policies

  • Tightening of rules fails to cool inflows of mainland money
  • Hong Kong’s insurance commissioner releases latest data

Hong Kong’s insurance sales to Chinese residents surged to a record in the third quarter even as officials tightened rules to control outflows of capital from the mainland.

Mainlanders’ purchases of insurance and related investment policies increased about 12 percent from the previous quarter to HK$18.9 billion ($2.4 billion), according to numbers derived from nine-month figures reported Wednesday by the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance in Hong Kong.

In the latest sign of Chinese concern over outflows, people familiar with the matter said that officials will strengthen monitoring of yuan exiting the country after the central bank noticed an acceleration.

Corruption probes and prospects for a weaker yuan and a slower economy are incentives for moving money out of the mainland.

Mainlanders’ purchases of Hong Kong insurance more than doubled in the third quarter from a year earlier. In the most recent crackdown, in late October, China UnionPay Co. halted credit and debit card payments for most insurance policies in the city after earlier limiting the amounts of money that mainland residents could transfer to buy certain policies.

In the second quarter, Chinese insurance purchases in Hong Kong were HK$16.9 billion. Buyers see the products as offering better benefits than their equivalents in China.

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