China’s renminbi qualified foreign institutional investor (RQFII) scheme is continuing its spread around the globe, with South Korea the latest stop. Meanwhile, the number of quota holders is steadily building in Paris and Singapore.
Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management, a joint venture between French bank BNP Paribas and Shinhan Financial Group, became the first Korean institution to win an RQFII licence late last month.
And many as 19 others have either submitted or plan to submit an application in Seoul, said Shanghai-based consultancy Z-Ben Advisors. (There are 19 QFII licence-holders in South Korea, including fund managers, banks, securities firms and a pension fund.)
Shinhan BNPP AM, which had W36.8 trillion ($34.5 billion) in AUM as of October 30, plans to put out new products, including a bond fund and an equity fund. These are scheduled to launch early next year, but the firm declined to disclose the size of the RQFII quota it is seeking from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (Safe).
Shinhan BNPP AM already runs two China equity funds and holds $100 million in QFII quota.
Z-Ben expects other Korean fund houses – such as Mirae Asset, Hanwha AM and Samsung AM – to receive RQFII licences in the near future. These are large managers with the capabilities to invest into China, and some of them have experience in managing Greater China funds, noted Ivan Shi, senior manager at Z-Ben.
Seoul was handed its first handed Rmb80 billion in RQFII quota in July 2014.
Meanwhile, five institutions received a total of Rmb11.1 billion ($1.8 billion) in quota last month: Aberdeen Asset Management (Singapore), BNP Paribas Investment Partners (Paris), French fund house Carmignac Gestion (Paris), DBS Bank (Singapore) and Investec Asset Management (London).
The pace of approvals appears to be picking up. Both Carmignac Gestion and BNPP IP won their RFQII licences in mid-September and each received quota of Rmb3 billion on October 30 – the more typical time frame has been two to three months.
Of the 91 holders of RQFII quota, six are in Singapore (Rmb8.8 billion), four in London (Rmb9.6 billion) and two in Paris (Rmb6 billion).
No fresh quota was awarded in Hong Kong last month because the city hit its RQFII quota limit of Rmb270 billion in September. Z-Ben has suggested a further expansion of RQFII quota in Hong Kong will come after the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, which was delayed on October 26 without a proposed future date.