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Foreign asset management firms expand investments in Shanghai

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Shanghai has been under closed-off management since the end of March due to a COVID-19 outbreak, but financial institutions are still running. And some foreign asset management firms have even decided to increase investments.

U.S. private investment management firm Neuberger Berman has managed $270 million via China’s Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership (QDLP) scheme since 2018.

QDLP allows foreign and domestic asset managers to raise capital from high net worth and institutional investors in China for the purposes of overseas investments.

Last month, the firm applied to increase its capital allocation quota.

Hugo Yan, chairman of Overseas Investment Fund Management at Neuberger Berman, says the company’s investment strategy in China is long term and would not be compromised with the short-term epidemic situation.

“Our confidence came from real experience as well. Back in 2020, right before the first wave [of the outbreak], we applied for additional QDLP quota as well. Shanghai financial regulators efficiently and actively managed to grant that program,” said Yan.

Neuberger Berman is not the only one. Recently, U.S. asset manager Black Rock and European asset manager Azimut Group have also applied for QDLP qualifications. Other asset managers such as Oaktree Capital Management and Credit Suisse have applied to increase QDLP quotas.

Qian Jun, executive dean of Fanhai International School of Finance at Fudan University, says though the current COVID-19 outbreak has brought economic challenges, China remains committed to increasing foreign investment.

“Things can look very different in short term that could be a few hours in stock market or few weeks. But if you look beyond several months or three to five years, there is no doubt that RCEP region will continue to be the most important region that’s going to support not only its own growth, but the global growth,” said Qian.

Qian also said Shanghai will continue to be the global financial center, given the city’s large efforts to build financial infrastructure and attract financial professionals over the past decade.

Shanghai’s COVID-19 situation is easing, with community transmission nearly curbed in town. The city also said on Friday that it aims to loosen restrictions in mid-May.

With the situation getting better, Shanghai’s financial district Lujiazui is expected to bounce back to normal soon.