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U.S. money manager VanEck eyes China mutual fund license: sources

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - New York-based money manager VanEck is eyeing a mutual fund license in China, two sources told Reuters, which will allow it tap the country’s $2.6 trillion retail fund market that Beijing fully opened up for foreigners this year.

The company is also considering launching products under the so-called Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership (QDLP), an outbound investment scheme, to help mainland Chinese invest offshore, said the people with direct knowledge of the plans.

China fully opened its fast-growing mutual fund sector to foreign companies by removing ownership restrictions on April 1 as part of an interim trade deal with the United States signed in January.

BlackRock BLK.N, Neuberger Berman and Fidelity International have applied to set up fully-owned mutual fund subsidiaries in China, while Vanguard Group and Schroders will follow suit.

VanEck, whose strategies include emerging market equity and fixed income, gold and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), started planning for China entry late last year, when Beijing vowed to fully open its financial sector in 2020, a source said.

The coronavirus outbreak slowed VanEck’s China strategy, but in recent months the company had been in active contact with Chinese regulators. It hasn’t yet submitted an application though, the sources said.

Representatives at VanEck’s Shanghai unit declined to comment. The sources declined to be named as the company’s plans are not public yet.

VanEck, which runs both actively- and passively-managed funds, has not finalized its China product strategy yet, and its mutual fund plans are also subject to change, the sources said.

Separately, VanEck, whose founder John van Eck was a well-known pioneer in gold investments, is also exploring businesses under China’s QDLP scheme, the sources said, tapping into Chinese investors’ penchant for gold.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Sumeet Chatterjee;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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