(Yicai Global) June 14 – MSCI Inc. (NYSE: MSCI), a leading provider of global equity indexes,announced today that it will delay including China A shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. Over recent months, Chinese authorities have introduced significant improvements in the accessibility of the China A shares market for global investors. These improvements touch the major categories previously cited as impediments to inclusion: (1) resolution of the issues regarding beneficial ownership, (2) enhanced regulations on trading suspension, which was flagged as the most critical by investors, and (3) QFII policy changes aimed at addressing quota allocation and capital mobility restrictions.
"There have been significant steps toward the eventual inclusion of China A shares in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index," said Remy Briand, MSCI Managing Director and Global Head of Research."They demonstrate a clear commitment by the Chinese authorities to bring the accessibility of the China A shares market closer to international standards. We look forward to the continuation of policy momentum in addressing the remaining accessibility issues."
Mr. Briand added, "International institutional investors clearly indicated that they would like to see further improvements in the accessibility of the China A shares market before its inclusion in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. In keeping with its standard practice, MSCI will monitor the implementation of the recently announced policy changes and will seek feedback from market participants."
MSCI gathered feedback from market participants on the potential inclusion of China A shares in the MSCI Emerging Market Index during an extensive global consultation. Investors recognized the actions taken to further open the China A shares market and highlighted that the topic of beneficial ownership has been satisfactorily resolved. They generally stressed the need for a period of observation to assess the effectiveness of the QFII quota allocation and capital mobility policy changes as well as the effectiveness of the new trading suspension policies. The 20% monthly repatriation limit remains a significant hurdle for investors that may be faced with redemptions such as mutual funds and must be satisfactorily addressed. Finally, the local exchanges' pre-approval restrictions on launching financial products remain unaddressed. Hence, MSCI will retain the China A shares inclusion proposal as part of the 2017 Market Classification Review. MSCI does not rule out a potential off-cycle announcement should further significant positive developments occur ahead of June 2017.
In today's announcement, MSCI also said that the MSCI Pakistan Index will be reclassified to Emerging Markets status, coinciding with the May 2017 Semi-Annual Index Review.
The MSCI Peru Index will remain in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. However, MSCI highlighted that it will proceed with the reclassification of Peru to Frontier Markets status in the event that the MSCI Peru Index falls short of the minimum requirement for Emerging Markets that the index contains at least three constituents. As a reminder, the MSCI Peru Index currently includes the minimum of three constituents.
MSCI also announced today that it will include the MSCI Argentina Index in its 2017 Annual Market Classification Review for a potential reclassification to Emerging Markets status.
The MSCI Korea Index, however, will not be included on the list for a potential reclassification to Developed Markets status as part of the 2017 Review because the recent changes announced by the Financial Services Commission in South Korea will not take effect until 2017 and the investment frictions related to the lack of convertibility of the Korean Won and restrictions imposed by the local stock exchange on the use of exchange data for the creation of financial products remain unaddressed.
MSCI further announced that the MSCI Nigeria Index may be removed from the MSCI Frontier Markets Index and reclassified as a stand-alone market due to capital mobility issues. MSCI said it will consult with international institutional investors over the coming three months on a reclassification proposal that could be implemented with the November 2016 Semi-Annual Index Review.
MSCI said that it welcomes the recent market accessibility enhancements announced by the Saudi Arabian Capital Market Authority and the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and will continue to monitor the positive evolution in the opening of the Saudi Arabian equity market for international institutional investors. The announced changes, including changes to the settlement cycle of listed securities, elimination of the cash prefunding requirement and the introduction of proper delivery versus payment – as well as changes to the rules for Qualified Foreign Investors – are planned to be implemented by mid-2017. Once in effect, these enhancements will bring the Saudi equity market closer to Emerging Market accessibility standards.
Finally, MSCI released the 2016 Global Market Accessibility Review for the 82 markets under its coverage.