Eastspring, the asset management arm of Prudential, has set up its investment management IM Wfoe in Shanghai, according to a statement by the firm.
Michael Lu has joined Eastspring as the general manager for its operation in Shanghai. Lu previously led China business development at Robeco for ten years.
Bernard Teo, head of corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions, will be the legal representative of the Wfoe.
Guy Strapp, chief executive of Eastspring, said in the statement that the country is a significant growth opportunity for the firm.
In addition to building its onshore presence, the new entity would enhance the firm’s ability to serve professional investors both in China and globally, and complement its existing joint venture, Citic-Prudential Fund Management, he said.
Asia specialist Eastspring, based in Singapore, managed $170bn (€137.4bn, £122.6bn) in assets globally as of the end of June 2017.
In China, at least 26 IM WFOEs have been established by foreign asset managers. Operating an IM Wfoe is the prerequisite to launching an onshore private fund to domestic qualified, high-net-worth and institutional, investors.
To date, there are 11 foreign Public Finance Management (PFM) license holders, with the most recent being Italy’s Azimut in late February. The latest product launch was Fullerton’s absolute return strategy.
Among all the foreign private fund managers, Fidelity is the firm that offers the most onshore products compared to peers, including one equity fund and two bond funds.
Due to regulations, the other asset managers that hold licenses will likely launch, in total, six more onshore products by August.