China Fund Panic Spurs Risky Backtrack on Product Pricing

China’s banks and asset managers are turning to an old yet potentially risky accounting maneuver to attract buyers for their investment funds after a rout in the bond market triggered waves of redemptions last year, Bloomberg News reported. Banks including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Postal Savings Bank of China Co.’s wealth management units are rushing to sell new funds that value most assets based on adjusted costs rather than current market prices, masking day-to-day volatility. Mutual fund firms also launched their first batch of products this month using a similar method. China’s asset managers are seeking to stem an exodus of clients by resorting to the so-called amortized cost accounting method that had been tightly restricted in recent years as regulators sought to bring more transparency to the market. Officials are now showing more tolerance for the method following the sharp bond decline. More than 20 firms have responded to the easing by launching new products using this type of valuation, according to a China Minsheng Banking Corp. report Feb. 11. Similarly, five mutual fund firms launched so-called mixed-valuation funds for the first time. Penghua Fund Management Co. raised about 8 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) alone. Read more.