(Bloomberg) — Vanguard Group Inc. is taking its last steps to exit China and shut down its office in the 29 trillion yuan ($4 trillion) mutual fund market.
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Vanguard has signed severance agreements with the remaining staff of about 10 people in Shanghai, including country head Luo Dengpan, according to people familiar with the matter. Most of the team will leave by early next year and the office will be closed, the people said, declining to be identified as the decision is private.
The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based firm sold its 49% stake in a robo-advisory joint venture with Jack Ma-backed Ant Group Co. last month, adding that it will provide support till the end of the year to smooth the transition for clients.
“Vanguard will close its Shanghai office thereafter and will continue to monitor developments in China,” the company said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg. “We have not ruled out other business opportunities in the future.”
Vanguard is reversing its strategy by leaving the world’s second-largest economy, where it once saw significant potential. Global competitors including BlackRock Inc. and Fidelity International Ltd. have boosted their onshore presence with fully-owned fund units betting on the nation’s economic growth and pension reforms.
Vanguard scrapped plans for a mutual fund management license two years ago, surprising the market as competitors embraced China’s potential. Fidelity and Neuberger Berman Group have since won approvals and started selling products, while Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Manulife Financial Corp. have acquired full ownership of local joint ventures.
Vanguard notified the Chinese government of intentions to close its unit in Shanghai earlier in the year, Bloomberg reported in March.
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