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Northbound MRF funds see first net inflows in 2018

Hong Kong-domiciled funds sold in the mainland under the HK-China Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) scheme saw net inflows of RMB291.24m ($42.24m) in October.

The data from China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) marks the first time this year that northbound (HK-domiciled) funds have seen net inflows.

Year-to-date sales remain in the red, however, with total net outflows of RMB3.15bn. The June 2018 figures are especially notable, with RMB1.4bn in net sales, the records show.

This hasn’t stopped foreign players from registering new products. A number of firms have submitted eight applications between them to China’s securities regulator to sell their funds in the mainland, with Amundi being the latest.

The other fresh applications have come from JP Morgan Asset Management, Haitong International Asset Management, Taikang Asset Management, Value Partners, and Bosera Asset Management.

In total, Northbound products have seen net sales of around RMB9.3bn since the programme began in 2015, according to SAFE.

At least 10 Hong Kong-domiciled funds are sold in China through the MRF programme, with around a dozen other funds still waiting for approval from the regulator.

Southbound funds

Southbound (China-domiciled) funds, meanwhile, experienced a fourth consecutive month of net outflows in October, at RMB10.14m.

Year-to-date, these funds set for sale in Hong Kong have seen net inflows of RMB132.67. However, they have not gained as much assets as their northbound peers overall, with net inflows of just RMB468.75m since the programme started in 2015.

Nearly 50 mainland-domiciled funds have been approved by the Securities and Futures Commission for sale in Hong Kong via the MRF, according to the local regulator. However, only half of them have begun the selling process.

It has been a year since a mainland-domiciled fund was approved for sale in Hong Kong. The latest was the Credit Theme Jijihong Bond Fund, managed by Beijing-based Yinhua Fund Management.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.