The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) has suspended the Ant Group's $34.5 billion initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday, after the financial conglomerate was summoned to a meeting with the People's Bank of China and other regulators on Monday, Bloomberg reported. Soon after the SSE's move, Ant said that the proposed listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange would also be suspended. The IPO, which was meant to the world's biggest public offering, was set to take place on November 5. Two factors have driven the decision to stall the Ant Group's IPO. The first is that, new draft rules issued by the People's Bank of China on Monday were proposed for online micro lending, which mandated stricter capital requirements and operational rules. The SSE cited these rules stating that "these issues may result in your company not meeting the conditions for listing or meeting the information disclosure requirements.” The second and perhaps more significant factor is that two weeks ago Jack Ma likened China's traditional banks to "pawnshops" during a speech at the Bund Summit, a financial forum, in Shanghai. The Ant Group is a dominant player in China's burgeoning fintech space offering payments services, wealth management, lending, credit scoring, and insurance. According to Ant's prospectus, as of June 2020 it had 729 million users on the digital fintech platform and 500 million users on the lending side. On the wealth management platform it had garnered over ¥4.1 trillion in assets under management and ¥51.8 billion annual premium collections on…
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