Securities regulators are learning how to manage the market, China Investment Corp.’s Larry Zhang, told a US audience on Tuesday.
Zhang, who heads public equities at the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, said regulators managed to wipe out $5 trillion worth of market value through their incompetent and mistake-ridden handling of last summer’s market rout.
“It was a disaster how they managed public equity, it created turbulence,” Zhang said during a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Tuesday.
Zhang said that the former head of the China Securities and Regulatory Commission “made a huge mistake on how to manage the market. They are learning.”
“The communication was poor and they’re still learning how to communicate with the market,” said Zhang, who praised the governor of the People’s Bank of China for his “skilled” communication.
Former CIC President Gao Xiqing, who is also a former vice chairman of the CSRC, had aired his frustration on regulators’ handling of the stock-market turmoil at a forum in Beijing in November.
Policymakers say “now we’re innovating, so you can all come in — using high-frequency trading, hedging, whatever — to play in our markets,” Gao said. “A few days later, you say no, the rules we made are not right, there are problems with your trading, and we’re putting you in jail for a while first,” he said, referring to moves by authorities to detain some executives.
Beijing-based CIC, which managed $740 billion in assets as of 2014, boosted public equities by 3.7 percentage points in 2014 to 44.1 percent of its overseas holdings, according to its latest annual report.
Zhang said China’s economy will grow at a “reasonable” rate of 4% to 5% amid reforms in industries such as coal and steel, where the government is proposing capacity cuts.