Thornburg Investment Management, a U.S.-based financial entity, finds itself stripped of its Chinese business license a mere year after its issuance for facilitating outbound investments. The latest report from the China Asset Management Association (AMAC) website confirms this development.
According to the official records on the AMAC website, Thornburg Investment Management’s subsidiary, Thornburg Investment Management (Shanghai) Limited, had its status as a qualified domestic limited partnership (QDLP) fund manager nullified on July 16, 2023. The catalyst behind this deregistration pertains to Thornburg’s inability to operationalize its inaugural private fund within the mandated span of 12 months.
Despite repeated attempts to solicit a response from Thornburg regarding this matter, the company remains unresponsive. The QDLP initiative, introduced in 2012, provides a conduit for both foreign and domestic fund managers to amass funds from eligible investors in China for the express purpose of deploying investments abroad.
As of last year, Thornburg’s CEO, Jason Brady, celebrated the acquisition of the QDLP license, deeming it a pivotal milestone for the company’s global expansion strategy. The firm’s ambitions were geared towards serving institutional clientele and affluent investors within the world’s second-largest economy.
Global Fund Managers Face Challenges in China’s Competitive Market: Thornburg’s Recognition and Strategy Questioned
This recent setback lays bare the formidable challenges numerous international fund managers confront as they endeavor to secure financial backing within China’s increasingly competitive fund market. The era where foreign branding alone guaranteed success has clearly waned. Thornburg’s brand had limited recognition within China, compounded by the fact that its proposed investment product predominantly leaned into conventional equity strategies, which inherently curtailed its market demand. A source privy to this information, albeit unauthorized to comment publicly, shed light on this situation.
While China steadfastly continues to unlock its financial markets for global players, the influx of international asset management firms has risen sharply over the last few years. This growth, however, transpires amidst an environment of cutthroat competition exacerbated by economic headwinds and the burgeoning presence of domestic asset managers.
By the conclusion of May 2023, nearly 60 international firms had actively participated in the QDLP pilot program centered in Shanghai, China’s preeminent financial nucleus, as cited by local governmental sources. Noteworthy entrants in this recent wave include the likes of Wellington Management and Azimut Group.
Undeterred by the challenges, significant investment behemoths like KKR and BlackRock had secured QDLP licenses the preceding year, underscoring their enduring commitment to the Chinese market.