Winton took just over one month to finish its product registration in China after obtaining the PFM license on 29 June (as reported by FSA), launching Winton China Diversified No. 1 Private Equity Fund (literal translation) on 31 July.
It is believed to invest via the firm’s in-house systematic investment strategy, although Winton did not respond to requests by FSA for more information in time for publication.
The manager established its wholly foreign-owned enterprise in Shanghai in 2012, according to Shanghai’s Administration for Industry and Commerce.
The Shanghai operation has 11 licensed staff, with Or Ching-ming, an SFC-licensed responsible officer for Winton in Hong Kong, the representative for the entity.
The firm distributes five offshore-regulated mutual funds, across a mix of strategies: long-only European, US and global equities; absolute return; and hedge funds, according to data by FE Analytics.
In China, the PFM license enables both domestic and foreign managers to raise funds from a maximum of 200 domestic qualified investors (high net worth individuals and institutions) per product, to invest onshore.
The majority of the foreign firms with a PFM license are fund managers with a long-only bias, such as Fidelity Investments, BlackRock and Schroders.
In addition to Winton, Milan-listed Azimut, US-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, and Singapore’s APS Asset Management have been granted the PFM license in 2018 to date, boosting the total to 14.
While more global players are setting up in China, onshore distribution remains a challenge to them. Limited onshore track records and brand recognition are key hurdles. In particular, selling to institutional investors is made difficult due to internal compliance requirements and more stringent regulations on the mainland.