Citigroup to curb China travel as UBS ends restriction


HONG KONG • Citigroup Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co were among international firms that asked their wealth managers to reconsider travel to China, according to people familiar with the matter, as UBS Group AG removed its curbs.

A UBS spokesman said yesterday the bank had lifted its own travel restrictions. The moves came after a UBS wealth manager’s departure from China was delayed last week.

Julius Baer Group Ltd also barred trips by its relationship managers.

Restrictions on travel to China are a tough choice for global banks, with the world’s second-largest economy creating more billionaires by the week.

The UBS wealth manager, who focuses on China, had delayed her departure after being asked to meet with local officials on an unknown matter, a person familiar with the issue said. UBS has been told the meeting is due to happen this week, said the person, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public.

“China is a very big wealth market where a lot of people are trying to diversify their investments inside and outside of the country,” Chen Shujin, financial analyst at Huatai Securities Co in Hong Kong, said by phone. “At the same time, this is not an easy task given its capital controls. Foreign firms trying to tap this business are facing different obstacles.”