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AXA registers Shanghai fund unit as city seeks revival from COVID

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) -AXA Investment Managers has completed registration for a private fund unit in Shanghai, as Chinese regulators streamline processes to help foreign and local asset managers revive businesses amid COVID-19 outbreaks.

Other filings with the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC) show that Shanghai subsidiaries of global asset managers including Neuberger Berman, Abrdn Plc, Winton and Barings finished fundraising for their local fund products during the city's two-month lockdown, which ended on Wednesday.

AMAC, supervised by China's securities watchdog, said last week it would adjust filing and registration processes to help businesses overcome virus curbs and resume work.

Among the measures, electronic signatures can replace company seals in fund registrations, while a new private fund is now allowed to complete fundraising 18 months after registration, compared with 12 months previously.

The government of Shanghai, China's commercial and financial hub, on Monday unveiled a series of measures to reinvigorate the economy, including policies to encourage more foreign asset managers to launch cross-border funds, and set up regional investment centres in the city.

AXA IM, the fund unit of French insurer AXA, registered a wholly owned private fund management company in Shanghai on Monday, according to a filing with AMAC, enabling it to launch local fund products.

AXA already owns a life insurance venture and a mutual fund venture in China.

KKR and BlackRock recently received Chinese regulatory approvals allowing their newly formed local units to raise funds for investing overseas, filings showed. BlackRock's China mutual fund unit also submitted applications on Monday for its fifth product.

Private equity firm Cathay Capital announced on Thursday the first closing of a yuan-denominated growth fund, after raising more than 1.6 billion yuan ($240 million).

Investors include domestic and foreign institutions such as French automotive supplier Valeo Group and shipping company CMA CGM.

"We're greatly encouraged by investors' continuous support at a time of huge economic uncertainty," Cathay founder and CEO Mingpo Cai said in a statement, adding the firm will continue to make bullish bets on China.

($1 = 6.6738 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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