Morley to form joint venture in China

Article date: 1 November 2007

Morley, the UK-based fund management arm of Aviva plc and one of the UK's largest active fund managers, is pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding to form a fund management joint venture in China with China National Oils, Foodstuffs and Cereals Corporation (COFCO).

The agreement, signed on 31 October by Morley chief operating officer Nick Alford and COFCO chief financial officer Wu Gaoning in the presence of chief executive Alain Dromer and COFCO chairman Ning Xiaohui, was announced today at the official opening of Morley's Shanghai representative office.

Founded in 1952, COFCO is one of China's largest state-owned enterprises and one of the top 500 companies worldwide rated by Fortune magazine. COFCO operates in the insurance, real estate and futures brokerage industries, as well as being one of China's leading importers and exporters of grain and oilseeds.

Morley's parent Aviva has had a very successful life insurance joint venture with COFCO since 2003. The Aviva-COFCO joint venture is ranked fourth in premium terms among 25 foreign joint venture life insurers in China, where it has businesses across 21 cities. In 2004, the joint venture became the first foreign-funded insurance company in China to issue group life insurance policies.

"We are delighted to sign this agreement and to formally open our representative office in Shanghai, the centre of China's fast-developing financial services industry," Mr Dromer said. "We are particularly pleased to partner with COFCO and to extend the close relationship with Aviva formed through Aviva-COFCO and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial association between our companies."

Mr Dromer continued: "We plan to use this joint venture as a platform for developing a substantial business in China, where the asset management sector has grown significantly as a result of overall economic growth and the liberalising policies of the government."

The Chinese asset management sector has grown rapidly in recent years with approx US$440 billion under management at present and is expected to increase dramatically over the next decade.

The creation of the COFCO joint venture marks the next step in Morley's expansion into China after the appointment earlier this year of Walter Lin as head of strategic development - China to establish an asset management presence in the country.

 "Today's news is a further step in the development of our long-held ambitions in China, driven by both support for our parent company, Aviva, and the opportunities for our own profitable growth," Morley chief operating officer Nick Alford said. 

"Morley has exciting plans to develop and expand its business in China in the next 12 months. We will be applying for a QFII license to allow us to purchase domestic assets in the near future and look forward to working with local partners in developing our QDII business*," Mr Alford said.


* QFII - Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors
QDII - Qualified Domestic Institutional Investors

For more information contact:
Beth Saint - Corporate Communications
Telephone: 020 7809 8125

Notes to editors:

Morley is the UK-based asset management business of Aviva plc. Firms within the Morley group of companies manage £168bn (€250bn) from offices around the world as at 30 June 2007.  

Morley manages both institutional and retail funds. It also acts as investment manager for a range of retail investment funds, marketed in the UK under the Norwich Union brand and in Europe under the Morley name.

The property team manages in excess of £32bn (€48bn) of UK and European property assets.


  • Best Property Manager - Financial News Excellence in Institutional Management Awards, Europe 2007
  • Morley ranks number one fund manager in the Thomson Extel SRI Survey, 2007
  • Property Manager of the Year, UK Pensions Awards 2007
  • Morley's G7 Fund awarded Fixed Income Hedge Fund of the Year, Eurohedge Awards 2007
  • Equity End User of the Year - Derivatives Week DEAL Awards 2006
  • Property Fund Manager of the Year, Pensions Management Awards 2006
  • Best Commitment to Raising Standards of Trustee Education, Engaged Investor Awards 2006
  • Property Fund Manager of the Year, Property Week Awards 2006
  • SRI Provider of the Year, Global Pensions 2006
  • Central European Property Awards 2005 - Outstanding Company of the Year & Investor of the Year
  • UK Pensions Awards 2005 - Property Manager of the Year


  • Aviva is the leading provider of life and pensions to Europe with substantial positions in other markets around the world, making it the world's fifth largest insurance group based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2006.
  • Aviva's principal business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £41.5 billion and assets under management of £364 billion at 31 December 2006.
  • The Aviva media centre at includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.

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