BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

October 14, 2010 03:00 ET

Bank of Montreal (China) Co. Ltd. Opens for Business

First Canadian Bank to Incorporate in China, as Canada and China Celebrate 40 Years of Diplomatic Relations

BEIJING, CHINA--(Marketwire - Oct. 14, 2010) - BMO Financial Group – Canada's first bank – today celebrated the official opening of its incorporated subsidiary, Bank of Montreal (China) Co. Ltd. (BMO ChinaCo), at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at BMO's headquarters in Beijing. The ceremony was witnessed by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Canada's Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

"Canadians recognize that China's stunning economic growth offers opportunities for increased trade in goods and services that creates jobs and builds cooperation on both sides of the Pacific," said Minister Strahl. "…Which is why I'm proud to witness this important milestone today." 

"From the time we undertook our first foreign exchange transaction in support of trade with China in 1818, our presence in and commitment to China has been unmatched by any other Canadian bank. And we are here because it's relevant to our customers," said Bill Downe, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group. "China is a key growth market for BMO outside North America, and the opening of BMO ChinaCo gives us the flexibility we want to expand our product and service offerings for Canadian and Chinese clients – including the possibility of new initiatives in wealth management and retail banking. National treatment will ensure we can grow at a faster pace as China embraces financial liberalization and regulatory reform.

"BMO ChinaCo exemplifies the growing ties between Canada and China. Our two countries share a great friendship, which we're celebrating with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties," said Mr. Downe.

New products and services may include (subject to regulatory approval):

  • Renminbi (RMB) retail business to Chinese citizens
  • Distribution of domestic mutual funds, including funds from Fullgoal Fund Management Co.
  • Distribution of RMB Trust wealth management products
  • Chinese Government Bond underwriting
  • Permits to sell innovative financial products

"The new company gives us a clear advantage in growing our existing businesses and branch network, and capitalizing on the tremendous growth potential in China," said Albert Yu, President & Chief Executive Officer, BMO ChinaCo, and a director of the new company. "With local incorporation in China, BMO joins a small number of foreign banks in providing a full suite of financial services to its customers."

BMO received approval for incorporation from the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC). Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO of BMO's Private Client Group, will serve as Chairman of the new company, which will be mainly regulated by the CBRC, the People's Bank of China and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.

BMO ChinaCo has branches in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. With incorporation, each of these branches automatically receives licenses through authorization from BMO ChinaCo's head office to operate in Renminbi corporate business.

About BMO in China


BMO's ties with China go back to 1818 - the year after its founding - when the bank undertook its first foreign exchange transaction in support of trade with China.

With Canada's first major wheat sales to China in 1961, Bank of Montreal became one of the first Western banks to have direct business ties with the head office of the Bank of China. 

When Canada and the People's Republic of China established diplomatic relations in 1970, Bank of Montreal opened a RMB account with the Bank of China in Beijing.

Wealth Management

BMO has a 28 per cent equity interest in Fullgoal Fund Management Co., one of China's leading funds management companies. Two of BMO's three Chinese shareholder partners, Haitong Securities Co., Ltd. and Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co., Ltd. (the largest securities firms in China), each currently hold a 28 per cent interest. The third Chinese shareholder, Shandong International Trust & Investment Company, holds the remaining 16 per cent. 

Investment Banking

In 2006, BMO became the first Canadian bank to open an Investment Banking Representative office in China. Through coordination between its Beijing office and its investment banking team in North America, BMO offers M&A advisory services and debt/equity placement/underwriting capabilities to selective Chinese corporations for their overseas investment activities through its Investment & Corporate Banking Coverage groups and Product groups. BMO is also increasingly involved in China's IPO market; it was the only Canadian bank to have an underwriting role in all five IPOs of Chinese banks: the Bank of China, China Merchants Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, CITIC Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China.

Private Banking 

BMO Harris Private Banking offers advisory services to high net worth individuals who are seeking to emigrate or invest in Canada and the United States. BMO Harris Private Banking has Mandarin-speaking specialized teams offering private banking services in a client's preferred language in Canada. The teams stay in close contact with the Canadian Chinese community to ensure seamless delivery of integrated solutions.

Personal Banking

BMO offers advisory services to independent immigrants and students who are seeking to emigrate or study in Canada. BMO has Chinese speaking branches in Canada serving the Chinese community, assisting new immigrants to make their banking arrangements including bank accounts, mortgages, investments and BMO MasterCard. In China, BMO offers selective term deposits to individual clients.

Foreign Exchange

In 2008 and 2009, the China Foreign Exchange Trade System recognized BMO as the #1 FX Bank in the Guangzhou region. This is the seventh year that BMO has earned this distinction. There are 29 member banks in the Guangzhou jurisdiction and BMO is the only market maker.

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