Manulife latest asset manager to unveil wholly-owned Shanghai business
The asset management arm of Toronto-based Manulife has become the latest asset manager to unveil a wholly-owned investment business in Shanghai.
In announcing the new operation, Manulife said it welcomed Beijing’s recent efforts to ease restrictions on foreign ownership in the financial services sector, and said that it looks forward to using the new operation in Shanghai to make its private investment expertise available to institutional investors and wealthy individuals in China.
In a statement, Manulife said it also plans to target co-investment deals in commercial real estate and infrastructure in the Chinese mainland.
‘Latest piece of the puzzle’
Manulife described its Shanghai business as “the latest piece of the puzzle to Manulife’s China roadmap,” which already includes the a mutual fund joint venture and a life insurance venture.
The new subsidiary, Manulife Investment (Shanghai), will focus on Chinese institutions and wealthy individuals seeking to invest overseas, in both public and private assets, the company said.
A growing number of foreign asset managers, including Fidelity, UBS Asset Management, Aberdeen Asset Management, Bridgewater Associates and Vanguard have recently set up wholly foreign-owned enterprises in China, in an effort to target the country’s growing asset management market, which Manulife estimates will reach $10trn worth by 2021.
As reported, China announced earlier this month that it is to allow foreign companies to hold majority stakes in joint ventures for the first time, while removing entirely previously-existing caps on corporate shareholdings for banks, asset managers and, within five years, insurance sector firms.
Headquartered in Toronto and listed on the Toronto, New York, Hong Kong and Philippine stock exchanges, Manulife was one of the first North American insurance companies to expand into Asia, having set up a Hong Kong operation in 1898, which pre-dated its entry into the US market.
At the end of 2016, it employed some 35,000 employees, 70,000 agents, and had “thousands” of distribution partners, serving more than 22 million customers. At the end of September it had more than C$1trn (US$806bn) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months had, it said, paid out around C$27.1bn in payments to its customers.