(Bloomberg) —



a sign in front of a building: The Vanguard Group headquarters are seen in Malvern, Pennsylvania, U.S.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
The Vanguard Group headquarters are seen in Malvern, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Vanguard Group Inc. returned about $21 billion in managed assets to government clients in China as part of a global shift to focus on low-cost funds for individual investors, according to people familiar with the matter. BlackRock Inc. and Amundi SA are being considered to manage a portion of the funds returned by Vanguard.

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The assets include about $10 billion that Vanguard had managed for each of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange and the China Investment Corp. sovereign wealth fund, the people said, declining to be identified as the matter is private. More than $1 billion was returned to the national pension fund, they said.

The currency regulator will probably transfer oversight of its money to other managers including BlackRock, while the pension fund is likely to pick Paris-based Amundi to manage some of its accounts, the people said. CIC folded the Vanguard funds into its own index investment platform, they said.

Vanguard, the National Council for Social Security Fund, BlackRock and Amundi declined to comment. CIC and China’s currency regulator didn’t immediately reply to requests for comment.

Vanguard, the world’s second-largest money manager, is overhauling its Asia strategy, pulling out of Hong Kong and Japan to focus on individual investors in faster-growing markets. While China remains key for Vanguard as the nation opens its markets wider, the exit from the institutional business hands an unexpected windfall to competitors as they also step up their forays into the 100 trillion yuan ($15 trillion) asset management market.

Read more on BlackRock’s recent expansion in China

Vanguard is trying to move away from managing funds for institutional clients, a business that’s more demanding and less profitable, the people said. The sovereign clients’ relationship managers