Edinburgh-based investment giant Baillie Gifford has opened an office in Shanghai and has registered as a Private Securities Fund Manager (PFM) in China.
These two new developments allow the firm to invest in “more exciting” Chinese companies and launch private funds to Chinese investors.
Baillie Gifford is already invested in more than 100 companies based in mainland China with those holdings worth around £45 billion — or about 17% of the company’s total assets under management (AUM.)
The Edinburgh firm has built strong relationships with owners at Alibaba, Ant Group, Meituan, NIO, Pinduoduo, Ping An Good Doctor, TAL Education and Tencent — providing funding to some of these companies when they were still private then continuing to invest after public listings.
Baillie Gifford now has 1,319 staff and assets under management of £262 billion run from 11 offices worldwide.
Until recently, Baillie Gifford’s global investment teams have all been based in Edinburgh, but the partners believe that a local presence will deepen existing relationships with Chinese companies “improve understanding of cultural developments” and forge more academic partnerships.
“All this will aid the search for the next generation of companies in China – for the benefit of clients,” said the firm.
John MacDougall, Baillie Gifford partner and chairman in China, has over 20 years of investment experience and has relocated from Edinburgh to Shanghai.
MacDougall said: “We have been investing for our clients in some of the most inspiring and influential Chinese companies for decades, providing long-term capital that enables them to innovate and grow for many years.
“That innovation is accelerating as Chinese entrepreneurs harness technology to create new business models, products and services for millions across China, transforming entire industries.
“We are building a team based in Shanghai to provide devoted, local expertise to boost our research into these rising Chinese companies.
“We hope that combining knowledge from the team on-the-ground with broader perspective from investment teams in Edinburgh will allow us to assess the opportunities with greater insight, in the search to find China’s future winners.”
Amy Wang, head of China at Baillie Gifford, was hired last year to build the team in Shanghai and develop client relationships.
Wang said: “This is an exciting time in China as the authorities open up the financial services industry to welcome overseas investment managers and increase opportunities in its domestic shares market.
“Being registered as a PFM allows us to build a client base of Chinese investors who share our belief that taking a long-term approach, investing over five to ten years or more, will support the growth of Chinese companies and produce strong, consistent investment returns.”
To support the expansion, Linda Lin, who grew up in Chongqing, has returned to China as head of investment research after six years with Baillie Gifford in Edinburgh.
She is joined by investment manager, Rio Tu, originally from Hubei Province, who spent five years with the firm in Edinburgh.
“Baillie Gifford has also been recruiting talented local people for roles in operations, investment research, trading, compliance, business development and marketing, and welcomed two interns for the summer from the School of Life Sciences at Tsinghua University, one of its academic partnerships,” said the firm.