Are You Ready for China A-Share Inclusion?

In case you missed our country classification announcement on Dec. 5, 2018, we will be starting the process of adding China A-shares to S&P DJI global benchmarks (including the S&P China BMI and S&P Emerging BMI) in September 2019 at a partial inclusion factor of 25%.

Given the size of China’s onshore equity market, the addition of China A-shares is a landmark event for the S&P Global BMI. Based on total market capitalization—unadjusted for foreign ownership limits and float adjustment—China is the world’s second-largest stock market and is nearly double the size of Japan and three times the size of the UK.

What exactly is happening? Effective at the market open on Sept. 23, 2019, China A-shares accessible via the northbound trading segments of the Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect and Hong Kong-Shenzhen Stock Connect facilities meeting underlying index requirements will be added to the benchmark indices shown in Exhibit 2 at a 25% inclusion factor. In other words, each company will be represented in the index at one-quarter of its foreign ownership adjusted float market cap weight.

Large-, mid-, and small-cap securities as defined by each index methodology will be eligible for inclusion. Other indices that use these benchmarks as their universe will continue to exclude A-shares. Separate consultations will be conducted prior to any decision to initiate inclusion in other index series.

Why now? China A-shares have been under review for reclassification to emerging market status as part of our annual country classification reviews since 2013. During this time, we have closely followed the steps taken by Chinese authorities to improve market accessibility and have garnered feedback from a wide range of market participants including asset owners, asset managers, brokers/dealers, and other segments of the investment community. The decision to begin inclusion in 2019 was driven by a broad consensus among market participants that the Stock Connect facilities provide a robust access point for foreign investors. The reduction in trading suspensions was also cited as an important factor for inclusion. Furthermore, given the size of China’s onshore equity market, due to continued limitations placed on foreign investors, and to mitigate the impact on index users, market participants felt that a phased approach was warranted. Further increases in the weight of A-shares would be preceded by a market consultation and would likely require additional enhancements to improve accessibility.

What is the impact? China currently represents about 32% of the S&P Emerging BMI. At the September 2019 reconstitution, 1,241 China A-shares are projected to be added, representing a 5.5% weight in the index. At a hypothetical full inclusion, China would comprise about 45% of the S&P Emerging BMI, with A-shares representing 19% and offshore listings representing 26%.

For further details around the A-share inclusion process, please visit our Client Resource Center where you can access our FAQ, projected impact to key indices, and other related announcements.

The posts on this blog are opinions, not advice. Please read our disclaimers.

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