UBS is set to raise its stake in UBS Securities, its securities joint venture (JV) in China, from 24.99% to 51% after securing the go-ahead from the country’s securities watchdog.

The move makes the Swiss bank the first foreign bank to take a controlling stake in a China business under new rules.

The Swiss bank was the first bank to apply for the same to the China Securities Regulatory Commission earlier this year after the regulator’s policy announcement in April 2018.

UBS Securities president Eugene Qian said: “With majority control, we can better realise on the opportunities in China’s capital markets and make a greater contribution to the UBS Group.”

Under the agreement, UBS is acquiring stakes of 12.01% and 14% from China Guodian Capital Holdings and COFCO, respectively.

China Guodian Capital Holdings will retain a 1.99% interest in the securities JV post deal completion.

Other shareholders of UBS Securities are Beijing Guoxiang Property Management with a 33% stake, and Guangdong Provincial Communication Group with a 14.01% stake.

UBS Group CEO Sergio Ermotti said: “Growing our China business is a key element of our strategy. The further opening up of China’s financial sector represents great opportunities for our wealth management, investment bank and asset management businesses.”

“Since establishing our onshore presence in 1989, we have been at the forefront of foreign investment in China. This step underlines our long-term commitment to this market and we will continue to pursue opportunities.”