China’s third largest investment Bank – China International Capital Corp (CICC) – has told analysts not to publish negative views on China’s economy or its financial markets.
An internal memo, sent to the bank’s research department, which was seen by Reuters, also told them to refrain from commenting on issues that are not in line with government policies.
Additionally, staff at the state-owned investment bank have been asked to not wear luxury brands or disclose their pay. Employees should “make sure their family members adhere to social and ethical standards”, the memo said.
CICC did not respond to request for comments.
‘Avoid political and national security risks’
CICC, which is the most active Chinese investment bank in offshore deal-making, also said in the memo that extra caution should be applied when dealing with overseas clients to avoid political and national security risks.
While negative comments by market analysts and commentators in China have often been censored by authorities, the trend became more noticeable after China’s economic growth began to weaken last year.
The central government has also widened crackdowns on corruption and used rhetoric that criticises the country’s “financial elite” for leading “hedonistic” lifestyles – part of its “common prosperity” drive that began in 2021.
Chinese banks began giving verbal guidance as early as 2022, warning bankers to stop posting photos that depicted lavish lifestyles on social media.
Banks have also been forced to cut pay and perks for investment bankers, including compensation and budget reductions for travel and entertainment.
In April there were reports that CICC slashed bankers’ bonuses by as much as 40%.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard