Canada-based Manulife Financial is weighing an option to fill up at least two top positions in China within this month, reported Reuters.

The move is aimed at tapping opportunities in China’s pensions sector amid the country witnessing a fast-growing elderly population, senior executives at the firm told the publication.

It comes after Manulife obtained regulatory clearance to fully control a funds joint venture in China. The firm has already appointed a new chairman and a new general manager for the unit.

It is planning to add a deputy general manager for fixed income business and a chief operating officer before the end of this month in the latest recruitment drive.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Manulife Investment Management (Manulife IM) CEO Paul Lorentz stated that gaining full control of a Chinese unit that has access to the country’s new private pension scheme will further support the firm’s plans to explore China’s retirement sector.

Lorentz was quoted by the publication as saying: “There’s a massive retirement funding gap (in China), particularly relative to other developed markets.

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“I think we have an opportunity to really help the government, the regulator, shape the industry.”

A fast-aging Chinese population could lead to an emergency in the country’s pension sector as a state-run academic centre warns that the public pension system will exhaust its fund by 2035, added the report.

China’s National Health Commission anticipates that the people between the age group of 60 and more will increase from 280 million to over 400 million by 2035. This figure is same as the combined populations of entire Britain and the US.

Lorentz further said that the ratio of pension assets in China against the country’s gross domestic product is 10%, while it is 171% in the US.