Analysts at China’s CICC told not to publish bearish views, wear luxury items -memo

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China International Capital Corp (CICC), the country’s third-largest investment bank by market value, has told analysts not to publish bearish views on China’s economy or its financial markets, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The memo, which was sent to the bank’s research department, also told them to refrain from commenting on issues that are not in line with government policies.

Additionally, staff at the state-owned investment bank have been asked to not wear luxury brands or disclose their pay. Employees should “make sure their family members adhere to social and ethical standards”, the memo said.

CICC did not respond to Reuters’ request for comments.

Bloomberg first reported the memo on Thursday.

CICC, the most active Chinese investment bank in offshore dealmaking, also said in the memo that extra caution should be applied when dealing with overseas clients to avoid political and national security risks.

While negative comments by market analysts and commentators in China have often been censored by authorities, the trend became more noticeable after China’s economic growth began to weaken last year.

The central government has also widened crackdowns on corruption and used rhetoric that criticises the country’s “financial elite” for leading “hedonistic” lifestyles – part of its “common prosperity” drive that began in 2021.

Chinese banks began giving verbal guidance as early as 2022, warning bankers to stop posting photos that depicted lavish lifestyles on social media.

Banks have also been forced to cut pay and perks for investment bankers, including compensation and budget reductions for travel and entertainment.

Reuters reported in April that CICC slashed bankers’ bonuses by as much as 40%.

(Reporting by Selena Li and Jason Xue; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee and Edwina Gibbs)