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UBS warns private banking personnel against China travel



The Swiss bank UBS has warned some employees for travel to China after one of its advisers was asked by the Chinese authorities not to leave the country.

UBS, one of the world's largest asset managers, sent an internal note to a small team of regional private banking advisors, recommending delays to travel in the country while the bank learns more about the situation, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

A Singapore-based UBS banker who had recently traveled to China to Client Meeting was asked by the government to stay in the country to answer questions regarding an unspecified case and spur the warning from the bank.

The bank had not been arrested, according to the person, but the circumstances surrounding her situation were unclear.

China's Foreign Ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment on Sunday. An UBS spokesman refused to comment.

UBS is one of the few global banks operating a land-based asset management business in China, where the growth in billionaires has exceeded most other major economies in recent years. It is Asia's top wealth manager with $ 383 billion in total assets, followed by Citi of $ 256 billion and Credit Suisse of $ 202 billion.

The growing capital management industry in the region has been met with review by Chinese regulators who closely monitor the country's elite elite and their bankers as part of a major breakdown of capital flight and other forms of legislative evasion.

Technical giants Alibaba and Tencent were fined earlier this year for violations of cross-border currency exchange rules by their financial services. A thriving insurance business in Hong Kong that helped ordinary Chinese to move wealth out of the country has also been cut off by regulators over the last two years.

Earlier this month, Bingbing, China's highest paid actor, was fined Rmb479m (70 million dollars) for tax evasion after disappearing from the public eye for several months, in the most high-profile disappearance in recent years.

Chinese regulators, who try to stop the capital from leaving the country and further weaken the renminbi, have long been engaged in a cat and mouse game with rich Chinese investors who have desperately hunted for loopholes, for example gambling in Macau, in order to get their money out of China.

The pressure for these people to diversify their investments outside of China has been mounted after the 2015 market crash and the decline of the domestic real estate market.

UBS Investment Banking has met in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, the company was banned for 18 months from sponsorship of first public offerings in Hong Kong, following a survey of its role in certain listings on the city's stock exchange.


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