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Nine global AMCs quickly pitch tents in Pudong

By SHI JING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2021-07-29 09:05

Tourists take photos at the Bund area of Shanghai. [Photo by Wang Gang/For China Daily]

More players to be drawn as New Area bids to emerge as a financial hub

Nine well-known global asset management companies (AMCs) signed agreements with the local government on Wednesday to set up their local offices in Lujiazui area, Shanghai's financial center.

The agreements materialized less than two weeks after the central authorities said Shanghai's Pudong New Area should pioneer the mission of higher level reform and opening-up.

Among the nine AMCs are T.Rowe Price, a US firm that manages $1.5 trillion worth of assets, Aegon, the Netherlands' largest asset manager, Charles Schwab, a prominent US-based personal financial services provider, and Alter Domus, Luxembourg's largest fund and corporate services provider.

According to a guideline released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet, on July 15, Pudong should pioneer China's socialist modernization and serve as a strategic link between the domestic and international markets. Pudong should also further develop its financial market and product systems.

Pudong's Party secretary Weng Zuliang said the further development of the local financial services industry is essential to consolidate the area's role as a strategic link.

To that end, Pudong should grow into a hub for the world's top AMCs. The entire asset management industry chain should be further completed in Pudong by attracting more institutions to the area, he said.

So far, nine of the world's top 10 AMCs have set up operations in Lujiazui. Over 90 percent of the foreign AMCs operating in China are based in Pudong.

On Wednesday, Shanghai also witnessed the unveiling of a global asset management partnership program comprising 82 members.

The program aims to facilitate cooperation among various financial institutions and strengthen communication between domestic and international AMCs, said Yang Chao, deputy government head of Pudong New Area.

Lisa Hunt, head of international services for Charles Schwab, said the numerous encouraging policies and measures announced in the latest guideline will support the development of Pudong as a demonstration zone for high-level reform and opening-up.

The program will enable Pudong to take the next step toward establishing itself as "a pre-eminent center of international finance", she said.

Thomas Poullaouec, head of multi-asset solutions at T. Rowe Price Asia-Pacific, said China is a very promising market for both domestic and international investors.

Aegon's CEO Bas NieuweWeme echoed Poullaouec's views. Aegon, he said, is allocating more and more resources to raise funds from its global client base to invest in China.

On June 11, BlackRock, the world's largest AMC, received the green light from the Chinese regulator to start a wholly owned mutual fund business in China, making it the first of its kind in the country.

With an office in Lujiazui, BlackRock is preparing to launch its first batch of products with the newly approved wholly owned entity, said Zhang Chi, general manager of BlackRock Fund Management Co Ltd, the parent company's local unit.

"As a licensed institution, we are now not only able to sell our products to the vast Chinese investors but also bring our experiences in investment and risk management, as well as many mature global practices to the Chinese market. It's beyond a simple business choice but more of a social responsibility," he said.

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