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China’s fund AUM rises 20% despite negative GDP growth

Other markets in Asia shed fund assets this year, but China's retail mutual fund industry recorded net inflows, according to Amac data.

Despite the spread of the coronavirus in the mainland earlier this year, China’s retail mutual fund industry remained resilient, with assets increasing 20.5% during the first four months this year, according to data from the Asset Management Association of China (Amac).

Chinese authorities reported that first quarter GDP fell by 6.8% in 2020 compared to a year ago. However, as of the end of April, mutual fund assets reached RMB 17.78trn ($2.48trn). At the end of December, the total stood at RMB 14.76trn.

“At the beginning of this year, the market was quite good and the increase was mainly driven by equity-focused funds,” Shichen Liu, research lead at Shanghai-based Z-Ben Advisors, told FSA. “Later, due to the coronavirus, fixed income products and money market funds also collected more assets.”

For example, money market fund assets were up 21.4% since the end of last year to reach RMB 8.62trn at the end of April,, according to Amac figures.

The increase in China contrasts with other markets in Asia. Funds across asset classes available for sale in Hong Kong and/or Singapore recorded net outflows of $66.1bn during the first quarter, according to a Morningstar report. Specifically, the March selloff resulted in net outflows of $100.8bn. That compares with $21.7bn and $12.9bn of net inflows in January and February, respectively, the report said.

Thailand’s mutual fund industry also had massive redemptions this year, with net outflows of THB 206.04bn ($6.46bn) during the first quarter, according to data from Morningstar Direct.

China’s retail mutual fund AUM (in RMB trn)

Total AUM  Monthly change
Dec-19 14.76 3.9%
Jan-20 15.49 4.95%
Feb-20 16.36 5.62%
Mar-20 16.64 1.71%
Apr-20 17.78 6.85%
Source: Asset Management Association of China.

Fund breakdown, total AUM (in RMB trn)

Equity Bond Money market
Dec-19 1.3 2.8 7.1
Jan-20 1.34 2.83 7.5
Feb-20 1.4 2.96 8.08
Mar-20 1.41 3.08 8.2
Apr-20 1.49 3.43 8.62
Source: Asset Management Association of China.

Active market

Separately, despite the headwinds, some domestic fund managers recently attracted new money. For example, Penghua Fund Management was able to pull in $1bn for a balanced fund in February, according to a previous Z-Ben Advisors report.

Fullgoal Fund Management, ICBC Credit Suisse, Bocom Schroders and E Fund Management are also expected to continue launching funds this year, according to the report.

Moreover, Amac has published the latest list of the top twenty mutual fund firms in terms of AUM. E Fund Management, Bosera Asset Management and China Asset Management are the top three firms (see chart below).

China’s top 20 mutual fund firms by AUM (RMB bn)


1Q 2020 Rank Firm 1Q 2020 Avg AUM Foreign joint venture status
1  E Fund Management 439.4
2 Bosera Asset Management 350
3 China Asset Management 349.3 Power Corporation of Canada holds 27.8%
4 GF Fund Management 328.4
5 China Southern Fund Management 297.4
6 China Universal Asset Management 297.1
7 Fullgoal Fund Management 261.7 BMO holds 27.8%
8 Bank of China Fund Management 258 Blackrock holds 17%
9 Harvest Fund Management 253.4 DWS holds 30%
10 China Merchants Fund Management 233.5
11 ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management 203.7 Credit Suisse holds 20%
12 Penghua Fund Management 192 Eurizon Capital holds 49%
13 Huaan Fund Management 179.6
14 Ping An Fund Management 175.2 UOB Asset Management holds 25%
15 Guotai Asset Management 159.8 Generali holds 30%
16 BOCOM Schroders 154.2 Schroders holds 30%
17 Aegon-Industrial Fund Management 150.8 Aegon holds 49%
18 Zhong Ou Asset Management 145.7
19 ABC-CA Fund Management 141.6 Amundi Asset Management holds 33.3%
20 Yinhua Fund Management 137.2
Total 4,708
Source: Asset Management Association of China. Ex-money market funds.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.