France-based asset management firm Amundi has announced a new joint-venture with Chinese firm BOC Wealth Management.

Amundi BOC Wealth Management Company, registered in the Lingang New Free Trade Zone in Shanghai, is the first foreign majority-owned company in China permitted to design and offer wealth management products to mainland investors.

Amundi will occupy a 55% stake while BOC Wealth Management, a subsidiary of the Bank of China, will hold 45%.

Having received its license from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the company will commence operations this month, and plans to launch its first product at the end of 2020.

The company will focus on the distribution of wealth management products to Chinese retail investors, giving priority to BOC customers. However, products will also be made available to other local distributors and digital platforms in China.

Yves Perrier, Amundi’s CEO, commented: “This venture, combining the best of both groups, will enable Amundi to bring first class international investment capabilities and services to Chinese investors, and will leverage Bank of China’s experience and extensive distribution network”.

Perrier anticipated that China would become one of the firm’s “major markets in the coming decade” and that the launch of the venture “is on track” with the firm’s plans to accelerate its development in China.

“Considering the depth of the wealth management market and its growth potential, the company expects a strong course of development”.

Liu Huijun, deputy-CEO of BOC’s insurance firm, has been selected as Chairman of the Board and Bao Aili, of Everbright Pramerica Fund Management in Shanghai, will become General Manager of the Company.

The joint venture is the latest demonstration of China’s greater receptivity of foreign financial institutions and services since Q1 of this year.

In June this year, the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Commerce issued their latest Negative Lists, which document the industries where foreign investment is restricted. The lists, which took effect on 23rd July, saw a further reduction of the national measures limiting access for foreign investment. Over the last four years, Chinese policymakers have continued to reduce the number of restrictive measures. The National Negative Lists for 2020 had 17.5% fewer restrictive measures than in 2019.

In light of these changes, global investment firm BlackRock was also granted permission to form a wealth management joint venture with China Construction Bank and Fullerton Fund Management, an Asian investment specialist.

Forecasts by UBS predict fund assets of mainland China will rise by $12tn to $16tn between 2019 and 2030, representing the largest growth opportunity available for global investment managers.