Legg Mason and Citibank in China have launched a new QDII offering - the Legg Mason Global Funds PLC. The offering consists of six mutual funds with an investment focus across global equity and fixed-income markets. This launch marks the first partnership of Legg Mason with a bank in China, and represents the first QDII offshore mutual funds launch in 2008 by any bank in China.

The six mutual funds, to be offered to Citi's high-net-worth clients, are the Legg Mason Value Fund, Royce US Small Cap Opportunity Fund, Batterymarch Pacific Equity Fund, Brandywine Global Equity Fund, Western Asset Global Multi Strategy Fund and Western Asset Global High Yield Bond Fund.

Minimum investment is $10,000 or Rmb100,000. The funds are available through CitiÆs branches in Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hangzhou.

Previously, Citi introduced products by Schroders and Merrill Lynch-Blackrock that included global equity, emerging market and commodities products in multiple currencies. This latest launch will increase its fund offering to a total of 32. Anand Selva, executive vice-president at the consumer group of Citibank in China, says it is consolidating the group leadership in mutual fund offerings in the Mainland.

Lennie Lim, head of Asia distribution at Legg Mason, was not available for comment on the companyÆs plan for China. But prior to this retail launch with Citi, Legg Mason confirmed that it had already started institutional sales in China. Ray Prasad, a portfolio manager for Brandywine Global Equity Fund, commented earlier that the company is not actively courting any A-share investment opportunity.

ôWe see China as hugely important given the investment culture and growth prospects of the domestic investment industry, which is likely to become the fastest-growing fund management market in the world, with assets under management reaching $1.4 trillion by 2016,ö says Legg MasonÆs spokesperson in Hong Kong.

Legg Mason is headquartered in Baltimore. As of September 30, 2007, Legg Mason managed in excess of $1 trillion in assets worldwide. It has eight investment specialists, including Western Asset Management, Legg Mason Capital Management, Private Capital Management, Brandywine Global, Batterymarch Financial Management, Royce & Associates, ClearBridge Advisors and Mason International Equities.