US-based investment bank Morgan Stanley intends to acquire a majority stake in its Chinese joint venture (JV), CEO James Gorman was quoted as saying by Reuters.

At the International Economic Forum of the Americas in Montreal, Gorman commented: “China is, I think, the only country in the world where we do business (and) don’t have 50% or more ownership of our business.”

“That is unacceptable.”

Currently, the bank has two JVs in China.

One of these is a mutual funds JV operating under the name Morgan Stanley Huaxin Fund Management.

The other is a securities JV, set up in partnership with Huaxin Securities.

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Gorman said that he already had discussions with local watchdogs regarding its plan to pick a majority stake in one of these Chinese JVs.

However, he did not elaborate which of these JVs is being considered under the plan.

At the same time, Gorman raised red flags about the prevailing sentiment between the US and China in the wake of a trade war.

“There’s a hardening of attitudes on both sides,” he noted.

In the event of the plan materialising, Morgan Stanley would be following in the footsteps of UBS.

Last year, the Swiss bank unveiled plans to raise its stake in its Chinese securities JV to 51%.

Notably, this March, Nomura and JPMorgan Chase obtained the go-ahead to establish securities JVs in China.