Principal Financial Group, one of the biggest sellers of 401(k) retirement plans in the United States, is setting up shop in China in a joint venture with China Construction Bank. Headquartered in Beijing, CCB-Principal Asset Management will market mutual funds in the People's Republic of China and be 65% owned by China Construction, 25% by Principal and 10% by China Huadian Group.

The application for CCB-Principal Asset Management. is subject to approval by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

"This landmark agreement lays an important milestone for The Principal, after our 10-year presence in China with two representative offices," said J. Barry Griswell, chairman and chief executive officer, Principal Financial Group.

"With CCB's strong brand name and extensive distribution network of nearly 15,000 branches, the bank controls approximately 15% of mutual fund distribution in China, which will be invaluable to our joint venture as we seek to deliver mutual funds and potentially other financial services to the Chinese public," Griswell continued.

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