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Shadow banking from China's perspective: an empirical analysis of bank-issued wealth management products

Syed Mehmood Raza Shah (School of Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China)
Qiang Fu (Institute of Finance and Economics, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China)
Ghulam Abbas (Business Administration, Sukkur IBA University, Sukkur, Pakistan)
Muhammad Usman Arshad (School of Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China) (Department of Commerce, University of Gujrat - Hafiz Hayat Campus, Gujrat, Pakistan)

Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences

ISSN: 1026-4116

Article publication date: 7 May 2021

Issue publication date: 24 February 2023




Wealth Management Products (WMPs) are the largest and most crucial component of China's Shadow banking, which are off the balance sheet and considered as a substitute for deposits. Commercial banks in China are involved in the issuance of WMPs mainly to; evade the regulatory restrictions, move non-performing loans away from the balance sheet, chase the profits and take advantage of yield spread (the difference between WMPs yield and deposit rate).


In this study, the authors investigate what bank related characteristics and needs; influenced and prompted the issuance of WMPs. By using a quarterly panel data from 2010 to 2019, this study performed the fixed effects approach favored by the Hausman specification test, and a feasible generalized least square (FGLS) estimation method is employed to deal with any issues of heteroscedasticity and auto-correlation.


This study found that there is a positive and significant association between the non-performing loan ratio and the issuance of WMPs. Moreover, profitability and spread were found to play an essential role in the issuance of WMPs. The findings of this study suggest that WMPs are issued for multi-purpose, and off the balance sheet status of these products makes them very lucrative for regulated Chinese commercial banks.

Research limitations/implications

Non-guaranteed WMPs are considered as an item of shadow banking in China, as banks do not consolidate this type of WMPs into their balance sheet; due to that reason, there is no individual bank data available for the amount of WMPs. The authors use the number of WMPs issued by banks as a proxy for the bank's exposure to the WMPs business.

Practical implications

From a regulatory perspective, this study helps regulators to understand the risk associated with the issuance of WMPs; by providing empirical evidence that Chinese banks issue WMPs to hide the actual risk of non-performing loans, and this practice could mislead the regulators to evaluate the bank credit risk and loan quality. This study also identifies that Chinese banks issue WMPs for multi-purpose; this can help potential investors to understand the dynamics of WMPs issuance.


This research is innovative in its orientation because it is designed to investigate the less explored wealth management products (WMPs) issued by Chinese banks. This study's content includes not only innovation but also contributes to the existing literature on the shadow banking sector in terms of regulatory arbitrage. Moreover, the inclusion of FGLS estimation models, ten years of quarterly data, and the top 30 Chinese banks (covers 70% of the total Chinese commercial banking system's assets) make this research more comprehensive and significant.



Syed Mehmood Raza shah wishes to thank Professor Jianjun Li (his Ph.D. supervisor) and Dr. Peng Liao (Tsinghua University, Beijing China) for their continuous support and guidelines. Authors also thank anonymous reviewer for the comments and suggestions.


Shah, S.M.R., Fu, Q., Abbas, G. and Arshad, M.U. (2023), "Shadow banking from China's perspective: an empirical analysis of bank-issued wealth management products", Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 1-24.



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