Goldman Sachs has won initial approval from Chinese regulatory authorities for a wealth management joint venture with ICBC, one of China’s largest banks, as Wall Street expands its presence in the country.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management will hold a 51 per cent stake in the venture, while ICBC wealth management, a subsidiary of the bank, will own the rest.
Foreign asset managers are rushing to capitalise on China’s vast pool of savings as the government liberalises its tightly controlled financial system.
BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, this month said it had received permission to start a wealth management joint venture with China Construction Bank and Singapore’s state fund Temasek.
Wealth management products in China are typically distributed through the domestic banking network, pushing foreign asset managers into partnerships with local banks.
The industry is regulated by the China banking and insurance regulatory commission, CBIRC. Goldman said that the partnership had preliminary approval from the CBIRC.
“China’s wealth management industry has grown on the back of increased household wealth and continued financial market reform,” said Tuan Lam, head of the client business for Asia Pacific ex-Japan at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
“This joint venture with China’s pre-eminent financial institution will accelerate our objective of establishing a leadership position in one of the world’s largest, fastest-growing wealth management opportunities,” he added.
Goldman’s global investment research arm estimates that investable assets by Chinese households will exceed $70tn by 2030, more than half of which will be allocated to products such as securities, mutual funds and wealth management products.
A report from Boston Consulting Group and China Everbright Bank showed that China’s wider wealth market was worth Rmb121.6tn ($18.9tn) in 2020, up 10 per cent from a year earlier.
Amundi, the French asset manager, became the first foreign company to launch a majority foreign-owned wealth management business last year when it partnered with Bank of China. JPMorgan Asset Management last year unveiled plans to buy out its mutual fund joint venture partner.
Government reforms in China have encouraged greater foreign involvement across financial services, including allowing foreign companies to own mutual fund businesses fully for the first time.