© Reuters. A Chinese national flag flutters near the building of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) at the Financial Street area in Beijing, China July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/Files

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s securities regulator proposed rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds, setting the criteria for qualified products and sales agents under a scheme that will channel fresh savings into the country’s capital markets.

The draft rules, published by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) late on Friday, came after Beijing in April launched a milestone private pension scheme to tackle challenges of aging population.

Under the scheme, eligible Chinese citizens can buy mutual funds, savings deposits and insurance products via their own individual pension accounts, potentially boosting a pension market that has lured foreign asset managers including Fidelity International and BlackRock (NYSE:).

The proposed rules “have set a relatively high bar for products and institutions, and are designed to ensure safety of pension fund investment and protect investors’ interest,” the CSRC said in a statement on its website.

Initially, pension target funds with at least 50 million yuan ($7.48 million) of assets over the past four quarters are eligible under the pilot pension scheme, the CSRC said.

Other types of retail funds with clear investment strategies and good long-term track records will be gradually added to the eligibility list as the scheme expands, the CSRC said.

Currently, there are 91 pension target funds that meet the CSRC’s criteria, according to TF Securities.

In addition, fund managers and sales agents participating in private pension business must set up internal control systems, adopt long-term incentives, and ensure independent operation of the pension assets, according to the rules.

Independent consultancies estimate China’s private pension market will grow to at least $1.7 trillion by 2025, from $300 billion currently.

In 20 years, 28% of China’s population will be more than 60 years old, up from 10% today, making it one of the most rapidly-aging populations in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

($1 = 6.6878 renminbi)

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