(Bloomberg) — Vanguard Group Inc. said it plans to end its onshore presence in Hong Kong and Japan to focus on individual investors in faster-growing parts of the region, resulting in an undisclosed number of job losses.
The U.S. fund giant, with about $6 trillion in assets, said the Hong Kong business is targeted at institutional clients, and not the retail investors that are the firm’s primary focus. The changes will impact staff in the city, a number of whom will be made redundant while others stay for a period of time, it said.
“Unfortunately, from a distribution business standpoint, the current industry dynamics are better suited to institutional investors and do not currently support the scale needed for us to operate” the firm’s low-cost model, the company said in an emailed statement.
Vanguard has been targeting China for growth in Asia, teaming up with billionaire Jack Ma’s Ant Group to develop a robo-adviser service for the more than 900 million digital customers of the fintech giant. That’s a first step in winning a slice of the nation’s fast-growing asset management business.
The world’s second-largest money manager runs at least six ETFs on the Hong Kong exchange including funds tracking China, Japan, Asia ex-Japan and developed Europe. The company will also exit Hong-Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund and Index-Tracking Collective Investment Scheme platforms. The firm’s ETF assets in Hong Kong are about HK$3.3 billion ($430 million), according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
In Japan, Vanguard said it will no longer actively market products or distribute new ones.
The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based money manager said the move doesn’t suggest the company isn’t bullish on Hong Kong.
“The Hong Kong stock market will remain as a critical component for Vanguard’s global diversified funds,” the company said. Vanguard services more than 30 million investors globally.
(Updates with Hong Kong assets in fifth paragraph)
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