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China should further ease data export rules, Neuberger Berman, Citi say

By Thomson Reuters Jun 20, 2024 | 4:04 AM

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China should further relax data export rules, building on the recent easing of some curbs for global firms enacted by the city of Shanghai, senior executives from investment management firm Neuberger Berman and global bank Citi told a forum on Thursday.

Foreign banks and asset managers have been lobbying the Chinese government to allow cross-border sharing of information after Beijing tightened control of data flows citing national security concerns.

Last month, Shanghai launched a pilot project under which companies registered in the city’s Lingang Area may transfer so-called “ordinary data” overseas without security assessments.

Andrew Komaroff, Chief Operating Officer of Neuberger Berman Group, told the annual Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai that he supported easing steps such as an additional review that could pave way for the export of locally-generated research in China.

“We believe China should take further measures to safeguard the sharing of essential data across borders, as opposed to restricting its flow,” he said, adding that cross-border sharing of research would help “global teams across the world benefit from mutual insights.”

Currently, research reports and portfolio data generated by global asset managers in China cannot be transferred offshore, creating headaches for firms like Neuberger Berman, which owns a mutual fund unit in Shanghai.

“Access to AUM data … at the product level is really important,not only for managing our own internal operations,but also to help outside investors properly evaluate different strategies and to assess the manager’s strength,” Komaroff said.

Marc Luet, head of Japan, Asia North & Australia Cluster and Banking at Citi, also urged the Chinese authorities to allow more data transfer.

“We’d encourage Chinese authorities to continue to work closely with the market, including market participants such as ourselves in further simplifying, streamlining those rules around the issues of classification of data, thresholds and scenarios for exclusions,” he told the conference.

In addition, various Chinese regulators should have a unified view on data security issues, as “dealing with multiple frameworks is always more difficult, because it leads to interpretation questions,” Luet said.

China’s data rules, published in 2022, require all “important” offshore transfer of data related to operations within the country to clear security reviews by the Cyberspace Administration of China.

Last year, Fidelity International also said it was lobbying Chinese regulators to relax stringent data security rules.

(Reporting by Shanghai newsroom)