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(Bloomberg) -- UBS Asset Management has secured a private-funds license in China, allowing the investment unit to start managing money for mainland institutional and high-net-worth investors in Asia’s largest economy for the first time.

The firm’s local unit is the first so-called Qualified Domestic Limited Partner to be granted a license from the Asset Management Association of China, the money overseer said a statement. It allows the affiliate to offer onshore fixed income, equity, and multi-asset private funds.

“China is a key growth market,” Ulrich Koerner, president at UBS Asset Management, said in a statement. “Our goal is to be a leading asset manager in China for both onshore and offshore investors and a strong partner” for clients there investing overseas.

The new license is the latest step by the money manager to access the lucrative Chinese market. In 2005, it entered into a joint venture with the State Development & Investment Corporation to offer onshore mutual funds and in 2011 established UBS Asset Management (China) Ltd. as a wholly foreign-owned enterprise to manage and advise on alternative investments. Assets under management in mainland China rose by 36 percent to about $7.6 trillion last year, International Adviser reported in February citing data compiled by AMAC.

The license means “we can provide a broad range of services to onshore and global clients,” said Rene Buehlmann, head of Asia Pacific at the asset manager. “It also allows us to work more closely with subsidiaries of global firms in China to meet their domestic investment needs.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Jones in London at sjones35@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Neil Callanan at ncallanan@bloomberg.net, Jon Menon

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