HONG KONG/SHANGHAI — Manulife Financial Corp. moved a step closer towards taking full control of its funds joint venture in China after regulators there accepted an application for the ownership change, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Manulife, Canada’s largest life insurer, is seeking to bolster its presence in China’s US$3.8 trillion funds market. China’s securities regulator officially accepted an application from Manulife’s asset management arm recently to increase its stake in the joint venture to 100 per cent from the current 49 per cent, said the sources.
Manulife Investment Management, the insurer’s global wealth and asset management arm, acquired the stake in Manulife Teda Fund Management in China in 2010 from ABN AMRO bank and teamed up with state-owned Tianjin TEDA International Holding, which owns the remaining 51 per cent equity but is looking to sell it.
The Canadian insurer’s move shows how foreign companies are positioning themselves in China as it opens up its financial services sector — from investment banking to insurance — worth trillions of dollars to international competition.
Since ownership caps for foreign companies in fund management JVs were scrapped in 2019, a growing number of foreign asset managers, including BlackRock and Fidelity, have set up operations in China…
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