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BlackRock’s China head Tang resigns just as competition heats up in US$18 trillion asset management market

Tan KW
Publish date: Wed, 07 Jun 2023, 02:23 PM
Tan KW
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BlackRock Inc’s head of China operations resigned, adding to the company’s challenges as competition intensifies in the 130 trillion yuan (US$18 trillion or RM84.13 trillion) asset management market.

Tony Tang “expressed an interest in exploring opportunities outside BlackRock”, the company said in an emailed statement. Susan Chan, the head of Greater China, will now directly oversee business in the country, as the world’s largest asset manager says it remains committed to the market. 

“China represents a significant opportunity for BlackRock to contribute to the financial futures of a new generation of investors, and we will continue to focus on developing market-leading investment management solutions for investors in China,” a spokesperson said. “There is no change to our strategy or commitment on China.”

The departure of Tang, a veteran of the Chinese asset management industry and a former regulatory official, nonetheless adds uncertainty to BlackRock’s lead among global players, as competitors including Fidelity International Ltd and Amundi SA accelerate their forays.

During Tang’s four years at the firm, BlackRock became the first global player to start a wholly-owned mutual fund business in 2021. Its wealth management joint venture remains the only foreign participant in China’s private pension programme, which UBS Group AG estimated could grow to about US$25 trillion by 2060. 

Global rivals are catching up. Fidelity and Neuberger Berman have started raising money after winning permission for their wholly-owned fund businesses late last year, while Manulife Financial Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Morgan Stanley have bought full control of their local joint ventures. 

A spokesperson said BlackRock places “high priority” on China. Chan, who’s also the deputy head of Asia-Pacific, was appointed to its decision-making global executive committee last year. “This has been instrumental in sharpening the focus of global leadership on our China onshore business.” Reuters first reported the resignation. 

While BlackRock’s fund unit had amassed 6.4 billion yuan in assets as of March 31, the renewed declines in the local stock market have made launches challenging, as the nation’s economic recovery loses momentum. 

Its wealth management venture with China Construction Bank Corp and Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd managed more than 10 billion yuan as of April 30, after more than doubling assets in the second half of last year, according to filings. 

BlackRock also replaced the head of that wealth unit, less than two years after it began operation. The company is preparing its first product for the individual pension trials, the Securities Times reported last month, citing an interview with general manager Fan Hua.  


  - Bloomberg


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