China investigates top life insurer chiefs in anti-corruption campaign | Corruption

The anti-corruption watchdog said Wang Bin was “suspected of serious violations of discipline and law.”

China’s top anti-corruption watchdog has launched an investigation into the chairman of China Life Insurance Co., one of the country’s largest insurers, the most senior financial executive caught up in an anti-corruption campaign this year.

Wang Bin was “suspected of serious violations of discipline and law and is currently under disciplinary review and investigation,” the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement on Saturday, without giving further details.

A nationwide anti-corruption campaign targeting financial institutions and regulators has ousted more than 20 officials since it was launched in October, as authorities stepped up scrutiny of the US $54 trillion financial system. Wang was the first senior financial industry official to be hit by the campaign this year, according to the official Securities Times.

China Life said it would cooperate with the investigation and support Beijing’s efforts to clean up the country’s political and financial system, according to a statement on Saturday. The company said in a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Sunday that it will hold a board meeting in the near future to decide on an acting chairman.

Citigroup analysts wrote in a note that the news is expected to cast a shadow on the company’s stock price as investors may worry about the insurer’s corporate governance and potential business disruption from a change in leadership chairman.

But analysts said the probe should have a “manageable impact” on China Life’s business, which is largely led by other executives who have had a “controllable impact” on China Life’s Hong Kong-listed shares, as Wang, 64, nears retirement. The target price is HK$22. . The stock closed at HK$13.46 on Friday.

Before serving as Chairman of China Life, Mr. Wang worked for China Taiping Insurance Holdings and Bank of Communications. He also worked in the central bank.

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