Swiss investment bank UBS Group has unveiled plans to double the headcount at its investment banking joint venture in China in the next three to four years.

UBS Asia Pacific global banking head David Chin said that the majority-owned Chinese joint venture has 400 employees, Reuters reported.

UBS is the first foreign bank to get approval from the Chinese regulators to increase its stake in the joint venture to 51%.

The operations of the joint venture include debt and equity underwriting and financial advisory services.

UBS announces plans as China intends to open its financial markets

David Chin said that the bank announced the expansion plans as China is opening its financial markets to foreigners.

The opening of the financial market has spurred the demand for local securities and dealmaking services.

He said: “Overall, our plan is to steadily grow China onshore headcount, but we are not just going to compete on size.”

The report said that foreign banks in China are expected to increase their hiring as they take control of local brokerage joint ventures and expand their offerings.

According to Chinese law, global investment banks are allowed to own up to 51% of their operations in the country.

In October, the Chinese government announced plans to open the futures, brokerage and mutual fund sectors to foreign investors next year to deregulate the financial industry.

The government also said that the cap on foreign ownership of securities firms will be removed on 1 December 2020.

JPMorgan and Nomura have also secured approval to establish majority-owned ventures in China, while Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and other firms have applied for majority control.

According to UBS China equities head Tommie Fang, the Swiss bank is planning new service offerings under the investment banking joint venture in China.

He said that the Swiss bank is also expected to obtain approval for over-the-counter derivative products next year.

The report said that foreign banks will be able to offer more services through joint ventures and use global networks to win a share of the Chinese market.

Last month, the Swiss private banking giant was reported to be planning to bring the less-affluent segment of customers into a new category to help boost its profitability.