Asset manager Value Partners cuts a third of China staff in overhaul, sources say

HONG KONG, April 29 (Reuters) – Hong Kong-listed asset manager Value Partners Group has cut about one-third of its China staff as it looks to restructure the business to boost profit amid weaker markets, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The firm laid off eight employees from its Shanghai office recently, the sources said, where it mainly conducts onshore private fund investments and maintains client relationships with institutional clients.

Six of the eight staff were notified on Monday, a separate source said.

The job cuts are part of a planned overhaul launched to boost profit, the first two sources said, as shrinking assets under management led to operating losses in 2022.

All sources declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

“Given the fast-evolving landscape in the asset management industry in mainland China, we have made a decision to streamline our onshore business operations to improve the efficiency of the business,” a company spokesperson said in a statement to Reuters, without commenting on the job cuts.

“We will look to foster a closer collaboration with our strategic shareholder, as well as other distribution partners.”

Chinese brokerage GF Securities’ Hong Kong business last June acquired a 20.2% stake in Value Partners from its founding shareholders, becoming the asset manager’s only strategic investor.

Assets under management fell to HK$5.6 billion as of end-2023, a 9.4% drop from a year earlier and a 65% plunge from HK$15 billion at end-2019, mainly due to volatile China and Hong Kong markets where its portfolio mainly invests in.

The company reported a HK$23 million ($2.94 million) annual profit in 2023, bouncing back from HK$544 million loss in 2022, its latest annual report issued earlier this month showed.

Last Friday, Wong Wai Man June stepped down as the chief executive and executive director of the asset manager.

The chief executive role will be taken up by the leadership committee comprising of Cheah Cheng Hye and So Chun Ki Louis while the search for a new chief is ongoing, the company said at that time.

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