Ant Financial Services Group and Vanguard, the $5.9 trillion U.S.-based asset manager, are launching an investment-advisory service for Chinese consumers.
The new joint venture will offer retail investors customized services based on their investment objectives, time horizon and risk preferences, the companies said. A minimum of just RMB 800 (about $113) is required to invest through the service, which is accessible through Ant Financial’s mobile-payments app Alipay. The service will also help investors to buy and sell funds, as well as adjust their positions over time, so that they reach their investment goals.
“This venture marries Vanguard’s time-tested investment philosophy and approach with Ant’s digital platform and technology to fundamentally change for the better how individuals in China invest,” Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley said.
The service, which was approved by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, is a new one for retail investors in China, as previously only a small number of high-net-worth individuals in the country had access to them, the companies said. Moreover, there are a number of challenges for individual investors in China, including high investment thresholds, a lack of customized investment options and difficulties in selecting and managing investment portfolios from the thousands of wealth management products on the market, they said.
Ant Financial has been taking steps to help individual investors by offering a greater selection of financial products, such as the money-market funds on Yu’e Bao, the cash-management platform on Alipay, which launched in 2013. Five years later, Ant Financial’s wealth-management service, Ant Fortune, began offering target-date retirement funds from Chinese asset managers. They were the first-ever target-date retirement funds available in China. Now, the company is continuing its expansion of services through the partnership with Vanguard, which has long been known as a low-cost way for retail investors to access mutual funds, bonds and stocks.
“Alipay is committed to making finance more inclusive for individuals as well as small and micro businesses through technology, and we’re partnering with financial institutions around the world to achieve this by building an open and technology-driven ecosystem,” said Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Financial.
“Combining our technology with Vanguard’s investment advisory expertise will make high-quality wealth-management services simpler, smarter and more inclusive,” he said.