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Why UBS AM's unstoppable China growth has entered new phase

Why UBS AM's unstoppable China growth has entered new phase

UBS Asset Management has bolstered its new presence in China over the past couple of months having secured a licence to market funds and announcing plans to the search for talent and distribution partners.

On the ground in Singapore, Citywire Switzerland’s sister publication Citywire Asia reported last month that UBS AM received a private funds licence from the Asset Management Association of China.

Aries Tung, the group’s head of strategy and business development for China, said UBS AM received the licence in July, which is the final step to being able to sell its products directly to Chinese high net worth individuals and institutions.

The first fund is planned to launch in October or November, Tung told Citywire Asia.

The private funds will mostly invest in the A-share market and local bonds, he confirmed, although he did not exclude the possibility of investing in the H-share market through the Stock Connect programme at a later stage.

Going for growth

The move comes as part of a larger growth in Asia as the asset management unit set up its ‘Qualified Domestic Limited Partner’ company in Shanghai in November 2015.

Tung told Citywire Asia that the firm hopes to find local trust companies or securities firms to distribute its private funds.

‘Currently in the mainland there is still a high requirement for investor suitability and know-your-customer procedures, which will put a huge pressure on us. Therefore, from the beginning of the fund distribution process, we prefer to work with our local partners,’ he said.

Tung said UBS AM plans to grow its team in China to around 20 people by the end of 2017, but the firm is struggling to find talent.

‘We want to understand China,’ Tung said. ‘Many foreign investors don’t understand China. In terms of investment, distribution, operation or regulation… there is a big knowledge gap.’

‘We are looking for talents who have a good understanding of China, as well as how foreign asset managers work. We are also looking for talents who have long-term commitment and integrity.’

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