China’s most famous fund manager, Wang Yawei, has resigned from the nation’s largest asset management firm, China AMC, a company executive confirmed over the weekend.
Fan Yonghong, China Asset Management Company’s general manager, sent a text to Chinese media on the back of renewed speculation about Wang last week. It read only: “Wang Yawei has resigned. Thank you.”
Wang had worked at China AMC for 14 years and had become deputy general manager. He was also chairman of the firm’s investment committee until last July, when he stepped down.
His high standing and reputation had grown up around the China AMC Large-cap Select Fund that he managed, which has seen an accumulated return since its 2004 inception of 1,176%, as at April 27 this year. He also managed the China AMC Select Strategy Fund.
However, the performance of Wang’s funds in the first quarter this year has been below benchmark.
His large-cap fund saw its net asset value increase only 0.66%, four percentage points lower than benchmark, while the strategy fund was also one percentage point below benchmark.
Both funds have also suffered redemptions this year, with the large-cap fund having seen its number of share units sink 26% in the first three months, to 462 million, while the strategy fund has also downsized from 1.22 billion units to 1.16 billion (-5%) over the same period.
Wang’s future destination remains a mystery, although media speculation about his departure has been running since last year.
It had been rumoured that he would join Citic Private Equity, and just last week it was reported he was set to join Tianhong Fund Management Company. Both firms have denied these rumours.
Local media have also speculated that Wang might seek to ply his trade overseas, with his services expected to be in strong demand among foreign firms; they have also suggested that Fan could head abroad too, having spent 14 years as general manager – the longest in the history of China’s funds industry.
Last September, Caixin reported that both Fan and Wang had submitted resignation letters, but that these moves had been vetoed by the China Securities Regulatory Commission on the grounds that they would potentially have too much impact at a time of shareholder change.
Fan’s text message to Chinese media at the weekend was the first official confirmation that Wang is headed to pastures new.
In response to AsianInvestor queries seeking further comment, a spokesman for China Asset Management declined to add anything.
As for Wang’s successor at China AMC, one name in the frame is its chief investment officer Liu Wendong, who has been at the firm since 2006 and currently manages four mutual funds.