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Schroders gets nod to set up China fund unit as Beijing speeds up approvals

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SHANGHAI — Schroders has obtained Chinese regulatory approval to set up a wholly-owned mutual fund unit in China, as Beijing accelerates opening up its giant financial sector to foreigners.

China abruptly dismantled its strict, three-year zero-COVID policy in early December, and the government has apparently stepped up efforts to woo foreign companies and investors to aid an economic recovery.

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Last month, U.S. asset manager Neuberger Berman celebrated the opening of its China retail fund business, while Fidelity International was granted a mutual fund license in the country. Authorities have also recently allowed Canada’s Manulife Financial Corp to take full control of its Chinese mutual fund venture.

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The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) gave the green light to Schroders late on Friday, allowing the British asset manager to expand its footprint in China, where Schroders already owns a mutual fund venture, as well as a wealth management venture.

Setting up a wholly-owned retail fund business in China is testament to Schroder’s long-term commitment to the country – a key component of the group’s global strategy, the company said in a statement.

Obtaining the go-ahead from the CSRC is a crucial step that strengthens Schroder’s confidence to expand business and investment in China, Global Head of Distribution Lieven Debruyne said in the statement.

China scrapped foreign ownership caps in its $3.7 trillion mutual fund industry in 2019, and BlackRock become the first foreign asset manager to open a fully-owned retail fund business in the country.

Other players seeking such a license include VanEck and AllianceBernstein. (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Brenda Goh Editing by Mark Potter)


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