Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), one of China's Big Four commercial banks, yesterday announced the launch of its fund management joint venture in Shanghai.
ABC-CA Fund Management Co Ltd, with a registered capital of around 200 million yuan, is 51.67 percent held by ABC, 33.33 percent held by France-based Credit Agricole Asset Management and 15 percent held by Aluminum Corporation of China.
"The fund management joint venture is an important step for ABC to diversify. It is also in line with our strategy to build it into a bank with comprehensive services through exploring new business sectors and mergers and acquisitions," said ABC President Xiang Junbo in yesterday's opening ceremony,
ABC is the seventh bank in China to set up a fund management company, following Bank of China, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, China Everbright Bank, Bank of Communications, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank.
China Minsheng Banking Corp Ltd has also received the government's approval to set up a fund management company.
Analysts said the move is in line with an industry-wide trend of developing integrated services as banks seek to increase their income from fee-based intermediate services.
"Banks have stronger network advantage in conducting the mutual fund business, which will help them acquire a larger customer base compared with professional fund management companies," said Zhang Pan, an analyst at TX Investment Consulting Co Ltd.
ABC has 32 provincial and five municipal branches, and three training centers. It also has branches in Singapore and Hong Kong, and representative offices in London, Tokyo and New York.
"It will also greatly help increase the bank's income from intermediate services," said Zhang.
ABC has posted an annual growth of around 30 percent in intermediate services since 2002. The income from its intermediate services, which account for 54 percent of the total, jumped 64 percent from 2006 to 25.3 billion yuan last year.
The bank reported total assets of more than 6 trillion yuan and combined profits of 95.7 billion yuan by the end of 2007.
The second largest shareholder, Credit Agricole Asset Management, is the asset management subsidiary of French Credit Agricole Group, which ranks first in Europe in terms of retail banking revenues.
Another shareholder, Aluminum Corporation of China, is the world's third largest alumina producer and the fourth largest primary aluminum manufacturer.
Source: China Daily