Will New Brand Rules Change the China Opp For U.S. Fundsters?
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Friday, November 23, 2018

Will New Brand Rules Change the China Opp For U.S. Fundsters?

What's in a name? In the most populous country in the world, that answer is about to change when it comes to U.S. fund firms' brands.

Ivan Shi
Z-Ben Advisors
Head of Research
On January 1, new rules from the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC), a six-year-old self-regulatory organization, will bar Chinese asset managers from launching new funds with copycat branding of foreign asset managers or unauthorized use of famous names, Reuters reports. The move follows a government pledge to allow foreign asset managers to own majority stakes in Chinese ventures.

"Foreign brands have long been misused in China," Ivan Shi, head of research at Z-Ben Advisors, tells Reuters. "New rules would help foreign asset managers in China build their brand awareness and protect their reputation."

Yet some outside watchers of the Chinese asset management industry want further change. The rules will not apply to existing funds, the wire service notes. And one unnamed "advisor to foreign asset managers" says that the new AMAC rules won't protect non-Chinese asset managers' brands if local copycats have registered those brands first.

The Reuters articles lists a number of the brands copied by local Chinese firms. For example, about 12 firms and 40 funds in China use Fidelity's Chinese name without being related to the Boston Behemoth, and seven funds and eight firms similarly use Goldman Sachs' Chinese name. The name of former Fidelity star Peter Lynch has also been used.

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