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World’s second largest life insurer launches $157m venture fund

2 Aug 2012

Chinese life insurance giant Ping An has launched a $157m venture fund as part of efforts to increase its exposure to private equity.

The insurer – the world’s second largest by market capitalisation – told local newspaper The Economic Observer it could invite LPs to invest in the fund, although the majority of the capital will be sourced from its own balance sheet.

Ping An’s fund will focus on investments in financial services, consumer products, healthcare, technology and telecommunications.

The company was granted a regulatory licence to raise private equity and real estate funds almost 12 months ago, according to the Asian Venture Capital Journal.

It said the business could commit up to $17.2bn to the two asset classes, although this may rise following regulation introduced last week by the Chinese government.

The country has doubled the amount domestic insurers can invest in private equity, a move that could potentially release about $50bn in fresh capital for fund managers in the asset class.

Insurance firms will be permitted to invest up to 10 per cent of their total assets in private equity, compared with five per cent before, according to a set of rules drafted by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).

The new rules were drafted following a meeting between CIRC officials in Dalian in June, and are the latest in a series of regulatory changes meant to diversify the types of investments Chinese insurance companies are permitted to make.

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