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Hang Seng IM, Ping An AM eye wealth connect pilot

Both firms will combine their investment management capabilities to launch a mixed-asset product in Hong Kong.

Hang Seng Investment Management and Ping An of China Asset Management in Hong Kong have partnered to launch the Hang Seng Ping An Asian Income Fund, which recently received regulatory approval to be launched in the SAR.

The fund is a mixed-asset product that will mainly invest in Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan) equities and fixed income. It will combine the investment management capabilities of Hang Seng IM in equities and Ping An of China AM in fixed income, according to a statement from Ping An AM.

The product is expected to be publicly offered later this year after it has built a performance track record.

Both firms rolled out the co-branded fund with a view of it being offered in the wider Greater Bay Area (GBA) through the Wealth Management Connect (WMC) pilot scheme, according to the statement.

In June, authorities in Hong Kong, China and Macau jointly announced that they will implement a cross-boundary WMC pilot scheme in the Guandong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. However, they did not specify an exact date on its implementation.

The scheme would enable residents of Hong Kong and mainland cities in the GBA to invest in wealth management products in each other’s markets through the banking systems.

Both Hang Seng IM and Ping An of China AM believe that there are huge opportunities in the GBA area.

“This co-branded fund further strengthens our platform for future growth, particularly with the anticipated official implementation of Wealth Management Connect, which will create enormous business opportunities for the financial industry in the Greater Bay Area,” Rosita Lee, director and CEO at Hang Seng IM, said in the statement.

Lee added that Hang Seng IM and Ping An of China AM are currently working on other initiatives that will further broaden their portfolio wealth management products and services, but did not elaborate.

GBA opportunities

Other wealth and asset management firms have also highlighted the potential opportunities in the wealth management connect scheme.

“We are talking about the 140 million inhabitants [in the GBA] who potentially are going to come and buy wealth management products in Hong Kong,” David Gaud, Singapore-based chief investment officer and head of discretionary portfolio management for Asia at Pictet Wealth Management, said previously.

Fund managers also see the GBA as a business opportunity, according to a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association in June. However, while most HKIFA members surveyed agreed that Hong Kong has a significant opportunity to leverage its advantages within the GBA, 79% don’t have a strategic plan for the GBA yet.

Nevertheless, as much as 37% of those surveyed intend to formulate a discrete GBA plan within the next year.

Fintech firm Magnum Research, which is behind the B2C robo-advisory platform Aqumon, is also eyeing opportunities in the GBA.

“We’re thinking beyond Hong Kong and positioning ahead of the planned wealth management connect,” said Ken Shih, Magnum’s head of sales and marketing.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.