Invesco, the Atlanta, US-based, NYSE-listed investment asset manager, has become the latest non-mainland Chinese firm to register its wholly-foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) in Shanghai as a private fund manager with the Asset Management Association of China.
The move, announced on Friday, is being seen as the latest indication that the trend among Western finance businesses to deepen their presence in the Chinese market continues. For its part, China has been seeking to provide more and better onshore investment options for its citizens, to reduce the outflows of wealth that have been pouring into foreign real estate, companies and other asset types.
The Invesco announcement coincided with a statement by China’s deputy finance minister, Zhu Guangyao, also on Friday, that China would relax its current restrictions on foreign ownership of joint ventures in the country’s financial services sector over the next five years, enabling non-Chinese firms to hold a majority stake in joint ventures with mainland Chinese securities companies and life insurance companies, while removing existing caps on foreign banks’ stakes in Chinese banks and asset managers.
Invesco first established its Shanghai WFOE in April, but this registration will enable it to launch private securities investment funds in China, which will invest in the country’s domestic securities market, as well as to accept investment from “qualified” Chinese investors into such private securities investment funds, Invesco said in a statement.
Andrew Lo, senior managing director and head of Asia Pacific at Invesco, said the registration with the AMAC represented a “key milestone in the evolution of our Asia business”.
“The private fund manager registration allows us the ability to manage and distribute a wide range of unique investment offerings to China’s vast network of private fund investors,” he added, “[and] is an ideal complement to our current operations in China.”
Invesco has had a presence in Asia since 1962, and today manages more than US$92bn on behalf of clients across Asia Pacific, according to the company. It launched its first offshore Chinese equity fund in 1992, and lays claim to having established “the first Sino-American asset management joint venture” with Great Wall Securities in 2003.
Globally Invesco employs more than 6,800 people, who look after more than US$850bn in assets on behalf of individual and institutional clients located in more than 20 countries.
As reported, UBS Asset Management announced in July that its fully-owned Chinese branch, UBS Asset Management (Shanghai) Ltd, had been awarded an AMAC private fund management license; the Man Group announced it had joined the private fund management license club in September, as did Singapore’s Fullerton Fund Management a few days later.
A number of other assset managers, including Vanguard, AXA Investment Managers and Neuberger Berman, have also established WFOEs in China earlier this year.