INTERVIEW-RBS preparing clients for Shanghai int'l board

Reuters

DALIAN, China, Sept 15 (Reuters) - The Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc says some of its clients have expressed interest in listing on the Shanghai international board, and the bank is making preparations through its local securities joint venture.

RBS, which is 83 percent owned by the UK government, also aims for its local Huaying Securities joint venture to have a mix of both debt and equities offerings, said its China Chief Executive, Sherry Liu, in an interview. This would be a departure from its traditional fixed income focus in Asia.

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"We're looking for balanced growth in China," Liu said during an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the northeastern Chinese port city of Dalian.

"The Chinese market is developing very quickly, and there are opportunities in many sectors."

Liu, a former JP Morgan banker who joined RBS in April this year, declined to name the clients who wanted to list in Shanghai.

RBS owns the maximum permissible one-third of Huaying Securities, which it set up with Wuxi-based Guolian Securities in November last year, a move that allows it to underwrite local stocks and bonds.

It had a significant retail banking presence in Asia before the financial crisis, but was forced to sell that when it ran into trouble at home and now concentrates largely on its investment banking operations in the region.

"We want to be prepared for the day when the international board is ready," Liu said.

Many foreign companies including HSBC , Unilever and Standard Chartered have said they want to list in Shanghai when the rules allow.

Foreign incorporated Chinese companies such as China Mobile and Lenovo , known locally as red-chips, have also said they want to return to the mainland stock market via the international board when it is approved.

Talk of a Shanghai international board has been around for almost a decade, but it has been delayed many times over problems ranging from worries about hot money inflows to the global financial crisis. (Reporting by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Ken Wills)