Star Chinese fund manager Wang Yawei no longer involved in daily management of Qianhe Capital

Star Chinese fund manager Wang Yawei no longer involved in daily management of Qianhe Capital

Star Chinese fund manager Wang Yawei no longer involved in daily management of Qianhe Capital

Wang Yawei, one of China’s most prominent fund managers, has moved out of daily management at the investment firm he founded, citing “personal reasons”, according to a statement published on its website over the weekend.

Speculation has been swirling on social media that Wang, 52, has been detained by government authorities and that his fund products are facing liquidation amid President Xi Jinping’s broadened anti-corruption campaign against the nation’s US$60 trillion financial industry.

Dozens of officials have been arrested and more than 30 state-owned companies have been investigated over corruption charges in recent years. Wang’s social media account in October published a rare post rejecting rumours that he could not be contacted.

“Currently, the entire management team is on duty to ensure normal operation at the company,” Qianhe Capital said on Saturday, in response to “relevant media reports” about Wang. “The company will maintain stability in the team and ensure its continuous stable operation,” the statement read.

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The firm said it had made relevant disclosures to investors through sales channels and had opened its products for redemption. The redemption process has been “basically completed” and the company has “ample liquidity”, according to the statement.

Qianhe Capital, founded in 2012 and based in China’s southernmost province, Hainan, is estimated to have about 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) worth of assets under management. It caters only to wealthy investors.

Wang’s move comes after Bao Fan, a highly influential deal maker in the Chinese tech industry and the founder of investment bank China Renaissance Holdings, resigned as chairman and CEO of the company last week, citing health reasons and the desire to “spend more time with family”.

China Renaissance said in February last year that it was unable to reach Bao. It later confirmed that he was “cooperating” in an unspecified investigation launched by mainland Chinese authorities.

Concerns about Wang’s situation could deal another blow to already fragile confidence in China’s financial markets.

China is one of the worst-performing stock markets globally. The benchmark CSI 300 Index on Friday slid to its lowest in five years to register a 7.3 per cent loss year to date, as Beijing refrains from introducing substantial measures to prop up an economy battered by a property market downturn and soaring youth unemployment.

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Wang, a native of eastern Anhui province, graduated from Tsinghua University in 1993. He rose to stardom while working from 1998 to 2012 at China Asset Management, a Beijing-based mutual-fund firm, where he was ranked among the nation’s top-performing fund managers.

Wang’s large-capitalisation fund fetched an aggregate 12-fold return between 2005 and 2012. It returned 226 per cent in 2007, a record in China’s fund industry.

His star power followed him to Qianhe, which managed 30 billion yuan in assets at its peak, only to slide later because of lacklustre performance.

Qianhe Capital currently has 40 private funds under management, according to fund-data tracker Howbuy. They averaged a 5.2 per cent loss last year, worse than the industry average of a 3.3 per cent decline and trailing 53 per cent of its peers.

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