China denies Mark Mobius’ claims that his government is restricting capital flows

  • Billionaire investor Mark Mobius told Fox Business in an interview last week, “I can’t get my money out of it.”
  • State Administration on Foreign Exchange (SAFE) officials told CNBC that it is a matter of “basic process and internal control requirements of banking processing [this] specific company.”

Chinese authorities have rejected claims from billionaire investor Mark Mobius, who said he cannot transfer money out of China due to government restrictions on capital flows.

When asked in an interview with Fox Business last week if he has reduced his exposure to China, Mobius said, “The government is restricting the flow of money out of the country.”

He warned investors about “all kinds of barriers” imposed by the government.

“I was personally touched because I have an account with HSBC in Shanghai,” he told Fox Business. “I can’t get my money out.”

Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management’s Emerging Markets Group

Dario Pignatelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

State Administration on Foreign Exchange (SAFE) officials told CNBC in a statement that it is a matter of “basic process and internal control requirements of the bank handling specific matters.” They didn’t mention HSBC.

“We have noticed that relevant market participants have doubts about the bank’s handling of their personal money transfer activities,” SAFE said in its statement. “There is no change in the country’s policy regarding cross-border money transfers.”

HSBC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

SAFE said it will continue to guide and urge commercial banks to optimize cross-border financial services and improve their service levels.

Peter Alexander, general manager of Z-Ben, a Shanghai-based investment management consultancy, said he had no problems with cross-border capital flows from China.

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“I spoke with a dozen clients this morning, all of whom have confirmed to me that there are no issues with cross-border capital flow operations,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post. “Business as usual.”

He said what Mobius is dealing with could be a process that “every person who wants to make overseas transfers” goes through. He added that his company “has never had a single problem” with transferring money in and out of China.

“As for Mobius, the issue raised concerns his personal bank account,” Alexander wrote. He pointed out that Mobius is “far from alone in his frustration” as others have experienced the same issues.

– CNBC’s Iris Wang contributed to this report.


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