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Fortis launches new Chinese equities fund for institutions

Fortis Investments has launched the New Equity Opportunities China Fund, which is geared to institutional investors and aims to exploit opportunities in both Chinese-listed equities (A and B-shares) and Chinese equities listed in overseas markets, such as H-shares, Red Chips and P-shares.

The may also invest in short-term deposits in renminbi and, where possible, take short positions in index futures. Net asset valuations, subscriptions and redemptions are weekly and subject to the same conditions as Fortis's other qualified foreign institutional investor funds.

'How can investors continue playing the Chinese equity market?' asks Simon Godfrey, senior product specialist for pan-Asian equities at Fortis Investments. 'With the launch of this new fund, investors can fine-tune their exposure to Chinese equities, taking a position in foreign-listed Chinese stocks. This fund completes our range of solutions available to international institutional investors with a long time horizon.'

The advisor to Fortis's qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) range of funds is Fortis Haitong Investment Management, a joint venture established in 2003 that is 49 per cent owned by Fortis Investments and 51 per cent by Haitong Securities. At the end of June, Fortis Haitong managed EUR5bn in assets, including its advisory roles to QFII and other offshore Chinese equity products.

The firm's Shanghai-based investment team of 25 professionals, including 12 equity research analysts and 11 portfolio managers, is one of the largest teams in China. Research is shared with Fortis Investments' Asian equities team in Hong Kong and global equities team in Boston.

Fortis Investments' first Chinese A-share equity fund was one of the first QFII funds to be launched on the market in 2004 and remains the market leader, with assets under management of more than USD1.5bn out of a total of USD5.37bn invested in QFII funds at the end of June.

Last month Fortis Haitong was awarded a qualified domestic institutional investor licence that allows the company to launch domestic Chinese market funds. Including funds sold to retail investors in China, Fortis Haitong had total assets under management of EUR4.7bn at the end of the first half of this year.

Fortis Investments, the asset manager of the Fortis group, had EUR131bn in assets under management at the end of June, with over half of its revenues generated by third-party clients. The firm has 21 investment centres in Europe, the US and Asia, and has 988 employees, of whom 258 are dedicated investment specialists, including Fortis Haitong and another joint venture in Russia, KIT Fortis Investments in Russia.

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