(Adds background, company statement)
BEIJING, Nov 25 (Reuters) - U.S. asset manager Neuberger Berman's Chinese unit said on Friday it had been granted a license by the Chinese securities regulator to conduct mutual fund business.
The announcement came days after Canada's Manulife Financial Corp received regulatory nod to take full control of its Chinese mutual fund venture, adding to signs that Beijing remains committed to opening-up.
The approvals could ease foreign concerns over China's policy direction after President Xi Jinping consolidated power during October's Communist Party Congress.
Neuberger Berman Fund Management (China) Ltd said on its official WeChat account that it had recently obtained the business licence from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
In doing so it has become the second newly-established, wholly foreign-owned fund management company allowed to conduct mutual fund business in China, the company said.
"We are honoured to now be able to broadly serve Chinese investors in local markets," Neuberger Berman said in an emailed statement.
"Our long-term investment performance and ESG leadership were at the core of our mutual fund company application," the company said, using the abbreviation for environmental, social, and governance.
BlackRock already operates a fully owned mutual fund business in China.
Several other global asset managers, including Fidelity International, Schroders Plc and VanEck, are also preparing for a wholly-owned business in China's $3.7 trillion mutual fund industry.
Neuberger Berman applied to set up a China mutual fund unit on April 1, 2020, when the Chinese government scrapped foreign ownership caps in the sector under a China-U.S. trade deal.
The U.S. asset manager got CSRC's nod to set up the fund unit in September, 2021. ($1 = 7.1642 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Samuel Shen, Ella Cao and Twinnie Siu, Editing by Louise Heavens)