Vanguard Group and Ant Group's Shanghai-based portfolio advisory services joint venture has attracted more than 1 million users in less than a year, the firm said Thursday.
The number of users of Vanguard Investment Advisors (Shanghai) Investment Consultancy Co.'s BangNiTou portfolio advisory offering — translated as "help you invest" — also doubled since Dec. 31. The offering, launched in April, is available on Ant Group's AliPay digital platform.
The joint venture — 51% owned by Hangzhou-based digital technology giant Ant and 49% owned by Malvern, Pa.-based Vanguard — was among the first batch of firms to win China Securities Regulatory Commission approval to offer individual investors discretionary portfolio advisory services in 2019.
Vanguard Investment Advisors (Shanghai), in a news release Thursday, said its 1 million clients make it "the most popular fund investment advisory service in China" by number of users, among the almost 20 competitors in the first tier of companies to garner CSRC authorization.
A spokeswoman for the joint venture declined to provide details on the firm's combined assets under advisement. With a minimum investment of 800 yuan ($123), the firm's book of business would come to at least 800 million yuan. One market source, who declined to be named, pegged the firm's assets under advisement at almost 7 billion yuan.
For a fee of 50 basis points of the amount of money a Chinese retail client invests, the joint venture offers "customized advice based on users' investment objectives, time horizon and risk preferences," the news release said.
The sharp increase in users — at a nascent stage for China's fund investment advisory market — is a hopeful sign that individual investors on the mainland have a considerable appetite to learn more about investing for the long run, Peter Zhang, CEO of Vanguard Investment Advisors (Shanghai), said in the release.
Scott Conking, head of Vanguard Asia, in the same release said the BangNiTou offering "is revolutionizing the ability for Chinese investors to access quality investment expertise to meet their long-term goals."