Eastspring Investments, the investment management business of UK financial group Prudential, has opened a so-called Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise (WFOE) office in China, through which international investors can gain additional access to direct investments in China, and Chinese investors can gain access to the manager’s offshore funds.
Operated via an office in Shanghai, the investment and distribution base comes in addition to Eastspring’s existing joint venture partnership, CITIC-Prudential Fund Management Company, which was established in 2005 with a focus on the retail market in China.
Prudential as a group claims some 24 million customers globally and Nic Nicandrou, CEO, Prudential Corporation Asia, noted that China is seen as “a central part of Prudential’s success, now and into the future”.
The existing joint venture gives access to 85 cities in China, representing some 1.06 billion people.
Guy Strapp, chief executive, Eastspring, added: “This is a major milestone in the long-term development of our asset management business in China and follows on from establishing our IM WFOE in March and receiving our PFM licence in October.”
“China represents a significant growth opportunity for us. By 2021, it is estimated that around 50% of the $4.8trn of assets managed from Asia will be from China, and that these assets, at $2.3trn, will be almost double those managed in 2016.”
“This impressive growth in the investment industry is being propelled by China’s powerful economic expansion, and the increasing participation by both retail and institutional investors. Early next year we will be launching a growth equity China A share strategy that will be distributed by domestic securities firms and third party wealth managers.”
The Shanghai office is expected to have some 20 staff by the end of 2019. Currently there are 11, including five investment professionals.