Neuberger seeks China expansion

The New York-based firm has set up in Shanghai and registered with China’s asset management association so it can raise money from mainland Chinese high net worth individuals and institutional investors.

US asset management firm Neuberger Berman is attempting to tap high net worth clients and institutional investors in China through its newly launched Shanghai operation.

The firm has established a wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE), named Neuberger Berman Investment Management (Shanghai), which will allow the firm to operate an onshore investment management business in mainland China, subject to registration with the Asset Management Association of China.

Once registration is completed, the firm will be able to manage, distribute and raise private funds to a broader client base including Chinese private banks, independent wealth management platforms, local institutions and high net worth clients, the firm said in a statement.

Nick Hoar, head of Asia Pacific for Neuberger Berman says China represents a significant growth opportunity for the firm. The firm is also seeking to further expand its investment and client coverage presence in the Asia Pacific region, which already includes operations in Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Seoul and Taipei, Hoar added.

Along with the new WFOE, the firm hired Patrick Liu as its head of China. Liu was previously CEO of HFT Investment Management, a Shanghai-based joint venture between Haitong Securities and BNP Paribas Investment Partners. William Hui, who previously led the development of both the retail and institutional business at Deutsche Asset Management, also joined the firm as head of China Institutional Business.

Neuberger Berman, which currently allocates 16 percent of its $255 billion assets under management to alternatives, has made investments in China-focused private equity firms including Mandarin Capital Partners, Oaktree Capital Management, Apax Partners and Bain Capital, according to PEI data.

The firm recently received an up to $200 million commitment from the New Jersey Division of Investment for Neuberger Berman New Jersey Custom Fund III, a private equity fund that will target equity co-investments in buyout, growth equity and special situations, ranging from $5 million to $15 million per transaction.

Neuberger is also currently deploying its $462 million consumer-focused buyout fund Marquee Brands Partners as well as its $5.3 billion Dyal Capital Partners III, PEI data indicated.