From $5.3 trillion in assets under management at this point to an expected level of $9.3 trillion and beyond by 2023 (according to the Oliver Wyman consulting firm), the sector is poised to continue booming in China, especially in light of the increased flexibility the authorities are displaying due to the demographic realities of china making it clear that more investment options are necessary.
In other words, the Chinese authorities recognize that as China’s population ages, the lack of options its citizens have at its disposal becomes a problem, with many choosing to either hoard cash or invest everything in real estate, leading to the (in)famous overheating of the space. A retirement crisis in the making, according to BlackRock.
With the $9.3 trillion goal placing China on the road to becoming the #2 destination for capital worldwide and it becoming increasingly clear that it’s only a matter of time until China will allow foreign companies full control (most likely sooner than even the companies in question expect), here are the top 25 foreign players in China for 2019, according to Z-Ben Advisors:
- UBS (Switzerland)
- Invesco (United States)
- JP Morgan (United States)
- Schroders (United Kingdom)
- BlackRock (United States)
- Fidelity (United States)
- HSBC (United Kingdom)
- Value Partners (Hong Kong)
- Aberdeen Standard (United Kingdom)
- Morgan Stanley (United States)
- DWS (Germany)
- Neuberger Berman (United States)
- Eastspring (United Kingdom)
- Allianz GI (Germany)
- Winton (United Kingdom)
- Eurizon (Italy)
- Franklin Templeton (United States)
- PineBridge (United States)
- Manulife (Canada)
- Bridgewater (United States)
- Man Investments (United Kingdom)
- BNP Paribas (France)
- First State (Australia)
- Mirae Asset (South Korea)
- Credit Suisse (Switzerland)
As can be seen, the fact that 9 out of 25 companies on the list above are from the United States makes it clear that despite there being many concerns about the trade relationship between the two giants, neither of them can truly afford to cease relationships or even tone them down multiple notches, there would simply be too much collateral damage across many sectors and investment funds most definitely do not represent an exception.
Thanks especially to the United Kingdom’s 6 companies, the European Union is a an even more important partner when it comes to investment funds, with 10 out of 25 companies on 2019’s list (the previously mentioned six UK companies, two from Germany, one from France and one Italian company). Add Switzerland’s two players to the list (including the leader, UBS) and Europe itself rather than just the European Union becomes the most dominant partner of China on the investment fund front, with only four foreign players on the list not being from the US or Europe: Value Partners from Hong Kong, Manulife from Canada, First State from Australia (the first instance of an Australian entity breaching the top 25) and Mirae Asset from South Korea.
As Chinese investors become increasingly sophisticated investors on the one hand or simply compelled by age to diversify on the other, investment funds will play a more and more important role in China, especially in light of the general trend of relaxation that exists in the industry at this point. That being stated, though, there are most definitely systemic threats one needs to keep in mind, from clashes with the United States and other trading partners to exogenous shocks that might bring about regulatory volatility. Still, it would be quite difficult to envision scenarios in which (aside from temporary hiccups) the investment fund sector doesn’t continue experiencing robust growth.