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Fidelity International China president leaves ahead of mutual fund launch

SHANGHAI : Fidelity International China President Daisy Ho will leave the company to pursue other career opportunities, the global asset manager said on Wednesday, less than three weeks after Chinese regulators allowed it to set up a mutual fund subsidiary.

The departure of Ho, who oversaw Fidelity International's overall China strategy, "won't impact the preparation of the company's China mutual fund business," the company said in a statement.

But some say the move underscores foreign money managers' challenges in China.

"Finding people to run a China business is only half the struggle," said Peter Alexander, Managing Director of fund consultancy Z-Ben Advisors. "The other half is retaining people and it's the latter that has proven to be the hardest to do."

On Aug. 6, Fidelity International said it had obtained Chinese regulatory approval to set up a wholly owned mutual fund business in Shanghai.

The long-awaited greenlight would give Fidelity International a toehold in the country's US$3.5 trillion retail fund market.

China scrapped foreign ownership caps in its mutual fund and securities sectors on April 1, 2020, under a Sino-U.S. trade deal.

BlackRock's newly established China mutual fund subsidiary has already started operation, while rivals including Neuberger Berman, Schroders PLC and VanEck have also applied to set up mutual fund units in China.

But U.S. money manager Vanguard Group in March dropped plans to obtain a mutual fund license in China, citing a "crowded" market, where roughly 150 players compete.

Ho, who joined Fidelity International in 2005, assumed her role as China president on January 1, 2000, and moved from Hong Kong to Shanghai.

Rajeev Mittal, Fidelity International's managing director for Asia Pacific ex-Japan, will lead the company's China business until a new candidate is appointed, the company said on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Tom Hogue and Kim Coghill)

Source: Reuters

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