Ping An-UOB Fund Management Company is poised to launch its first mutual fund pending regulatory approval and is planning another before the year’s end.

An insider at the company confirms that the retail fund will invest 60-95% of its assets into stocks in industries on a rotating basis that outperform at differing stages in the economic cycle. She adds only that the firm will launch another fund before the end of 2011.

The fund will be managed by chief investment officer Yan Zhenghua, a former star fund manager at the country’s largest asset manager China AMC, who joined Ping An-UOB in 2009 to help establish the company.

Yan now leads an investment team of 10, including a portfolio manager dedicated to segregated accounts and eight analysts.

Still expanding, Ping An-UOB’s sales and marketing team consists of six, led by Luo Chunfeng, formerly the general manager of Ping An Insurance’s Beijing branch, where he gained experience developing new business and obtaining support from other units of the Ping An Group.

The group has a base of 56 million customers and a network of 400,000 insurance agents. The fund management firm is exploring customer resource sharing and knowledge transfer within the group. Currently about one-third of Ping An-UOB’s staff come from group subsidiaries.

General manager Li Kenan notes that during three years of preparation for the FMC “we established extensive relationships with external distribution channels. For instance, we have reached a cooperation agreement with Bank of China and ICBC. Meanwhile, our funds will be distributed through the internal channels of Ping An Group and its retail banking arm.”

But he sees the Ping An brand, a household name in China, as both an advantage and a challenge to the fund management company. “People naturally associate Ping An with insurance. It is thus a challenge for us to transfer the power of brand from insurance product to mutual funds.”

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Ping An-UOB is China’s most recently established fund management company (December 29, 2010) and the first joint-venture AMC with an insurer in the country.

Ping An Trust Company is the JV’s major shareholder, owning 64%, and UOB Asset Management and Sanya Yingwan Tourism hold stakes of 25% and 11%, respectively.