Financial advice is about to become a lot more affordable and accessible for millions of Chinese.
Ant Financial Services Group, operator of financial giant Alipay, and U.S. fund manager Vanguard Group, will bring a “new streamlined and broadly available investment advisory service to retail consumers in China,” according to a statement.
The timeline of the service launch will be revealed “soon,” TechNode reported Monday, citing Ant Financial.
What makes the venture different is it’s the first to win approval from Chinese regulators, Quartz reported Thursday. Financial advisory services have typically been available in China to few wealthy individuals, the statement said.
“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 in a statement.
Alipay, which already has more than 1.2 billion users around the world, will be able to enhance its offerings with wealth management advice. The minimum required investment is 800 renminbi ($113), according to the statement.
Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Financial, noted that “Alipay is committed to making finance more inclusive for individuals and small and micro businesses through technology.”
The step may also be a sign of Vanguard’s deeper push into China.
Vanguard, BlackRock and other overseas financial institutions, have signaled their intention to apply for fully foreign-owned mutual fund licenses in China, according to Bloomberg. Pennsylvania-based Vanguard managed $5.9 trillion in global assets as of Oct. 31.
“Through this partnership with Ant Financial, investors will have access to investments and advice previously unavailable to them,” Charles Lin, CEO of Vanguard Asia and Chairman of Vanguard Investment Management (Shanghai) Limited, said.
Ant Financial, which was founded in 2014, focuses on inclusive financial services. Earlier this year, the company launched MYbank, an online private commercial bank in China focusing on small and micro enterprises (SMEs).