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Aberdeen Asset Management receives ambiguous award

By NexChange
Asset Management

As Chinese securities brokerages and fund managers sweat under the intense scrutiny of the local authorities for alleged stock manipulation, Aberdeen Asset Management must be wondering if it has just been handed a poisoned chalice.

The U.K. money manager is the first overseas asset management firm to be granted a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) license in China, allowing it to operate as a private domestic securities firm, reports AsianInvestor.

The award by the finance ministry followed a meeting between UK chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne and China’s vice-minister Ma Kai on Monday.

Previously, WOFEs could only advise and had to attach “Overseas” or “Investment Consulting” designations to their names. Alternatively, they could form joint-ventures with local firms, but a 49% limit on their stakes meant they ceded control of the investment process – a not inconsequential concession when trying to cope with the volatile A-share market.

Aberdeen Investment Management (Shanghai) was set up on September 14 in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Subject to final approval by the China Securities Regulatory Commission it will be able to create and distribute its own products into the private market of wealthy individuals and also service institutional investors.

Hugh Young, Aberdeen Asset Management’s veteran managing director in Asia, is the Shanghai entity’s legal representative. But, bosses at Citic and several other Chinese investment firms have been taken into police custody during the past couple of week, so perhaps it would safer for Young to stay in Singapore.
Photo: Javier Kohen

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