Credit AgricoleÆs fund joint venture with the Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) will be ready for business on April 16. The new venture will be a three-way set-up between ABC (51.67%), Credit Agricole (33.33%) and the Aluminum Corp of China (Chalco) (15%).

On February 1, 2007, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) granted approval for the fund house, to be known as ABC-CA, to begin business.

Yang Chun, vice director general at Agricultural Bank of China, will head the business as chairman. Hong Boh has been appointed general manager, while Yi Jie, most recently a fund manager of the Baokang Consumption Fund at rival French JV Fortune SGAM Asset Management, has joined as chief investment officer.

Credit Agricole has not received any product approval for a fund launch yet. However, it says it is confident that its first fund will draw on the Agricultural BankÆs vast branch network and large depositor base.

The JV will mark the sixth bank-owned fund house in China. Previously, of the other æbig fiveÆ banks in China: ICBC has set up ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management; Bank of China has Bank of China Investment Management, which is a fund JV with Merrill Lynch Blackrock; Bank of CommunicationsÆ fund JV is a partnership with UK fund manager Schroders; and China Construction Bank has a fund JV with Principal Global Investors.

Performance among these bank JVs is varied and often disappointing. According to Z-Ben AdvisorsÆ data, ICBC-Credit Suisse ranks 21 out of 60 fund houses by market share, CCB-Principal ranks 31, and BOC International ranks 35. The best is Bank of Communications-Schroder which ranks 23 with Rmb55.4 billion of assets under management.