Merian Global Investors (UK) has inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ping An of China Asset Management (Hong Kong), a unit of China Ping An Insurance Overseas, in a bid to strengthen presence in Asia.

The partnership will enable the companies to collaborate on business development opportunities in multiple areas such as fund distribution, marketing and investment advisory. The alliance includes knowledge sharing and training.

Merian CEO Richard Buxton said: “Growing our presence in Asia is one of our core strategic aims and the opportunity to partner with one of China’s largest and most respected financial services businesses is incredibly exciting.

“We believe that access to the local knowledge and investment advisory expertise of a specialist Chinese asset manager will be of great benefit to our clients.”

The latest partnership is said to be the first of its type signed by the companies. The tie-up builds on the existing relationship between the two parties, which started when Merian outsourced the management of its Merian China Equity Fund to Ping An.

Ping An Insurance (Group) of China co-CIO Hoi Tung said:  “This strategic relationship actually marks the beginning of our successful transformation to becoming a truly third-party asset manager from purely managing our in-house insurance capital by leveraging our strength in local market knowledge and investment expertise.”

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Merian was launched earlier this year as part of a management buyout of Old Mutual Global Investors. The buyout was led by Buxton and TA Associates.