More than 150 of Shanghai's leading offline and online finance companies came together yesterday to create the Association of Shanghai Internet Financial Industry (ASIFI).
Established in response to the central bank's new regulations for the booming peer-to-peer (P2P) sector, the association's founders include Guotai Junan Securities Co, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co and Shanghai Dianrong Information Technology Co.
Representatives from 46 of the member companies will sit on a board of directors, while the Shanghai Financial Service Office and the Shanghai branch of the People's Bank of China will act as supervisors, the association said.
"The ASIFI will help to create a firm foundation for Shanghai's peer-to-peer lending industry and promote innovation in Internet finance," said its President Wan Jianhua.
One of the association's first orders of business was the announcement of information disclosure guidelines for P2P platforms. These require members to provide monthly updates on their operations, including details of their products, investors, deal volumes and bad debt positions.
Wang Zhe, deputy director of the Shanghai branch of the central bank and the association's chief secretary, said the goal of the organization is to "service the Internet finance industry and cultivate an environment of self-discipline."
It will also serve as a conduit between members and policy-makers, he said.
The central bank in July announced strict new rules governing the P2P industry. Under these, online finance companies are restricted to acting only as intermediaries between lenders and borrowers, and are prohibited from raising funds of their own to lend out.