China’s Ant Financial, US-based Vanguard set up JV in Shanghai

Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg

Chinese fintech company Ant Financial Services has formed a joint venture with a Shanghai unit of U.S.-based asset management firm The Vanguard Group, government records showed.

The venture marks a high-profile partnership of Jack Ma-controlled Ant Financial with an overseas asset management company.

The online national registry for businesses listed an entity under the Vanguard name, with registered capital of 20 million yuan ($2.88 million) and Huang Hao as its legal representative.

Huang is one of Ant Financial’s top leaders.

While details are scarce, the equity joint venture will likely entail Ant Financial offering some of Vanguard’s services to Chinese consumers, said Peter Alexander, managing director, Z-Ben Advisors.

“Even though no one knows specifically what they’re going to do, I think it stands to reason that Vanguard will bring their expertise in running passive portfolios and Ant will bring their expertise in placement and distribution,” he added.

Spokespersons for Ant Financial and Vanguard Group declined to comment on the joint venture.

Vanguard had launched a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) in China in May 2017; and has about $5.2 trillion in assets as of Jan. 31, 2019.

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, currently operates Yu’ebao – the world’s largest money market fund.

The company, which holds 1.13 trillion yuan ($168.2 billion) in net assets as of 2018-end, was launched as a third-party online payment provider.

It has since branched out into consumer finance, and offers loans for small businesses, consumer credit, and other services.

In September 2018, Fidelilty Guaranty & Life Holdings Inc said it has formed a “research partnership” with Ant Financial.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.