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BMO Financial Group First Foreign Company to Acquire an Interest in an Established Fund Management Firm in China  


BMO Financial Group and Fullgoal Fund Management Company Ltd. of China today announced that BMO has received approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to acquire an interest in Fullgoal.  BMO Financial Group’s holding in Fullgoal is equal to the five existing shareholders.

Fullgoal and BMO Financial Group signed a co-operation agreement in February 2001 to work together to develop China’s potential in asset management, investment funds and pensions. Today’s announcement positions BMO as the first foreign company to acquire an interest in an established fund management firm in China.

BMO will first be working with Fullgoal to create and distribute mutual fund products domestically in China. Future plans include introducing Chinese mutual funds to international investors and, when regulations permit, offering mutual funds from around the world to Chinese investors.

“The business BMO Financial Group is developing in China is among the most important long-term initiatives we have outside of our North American base. Our partnership with Fullgoal presents a tremendous opportunity for BMO to leverage its strong asset management capabilities in Canada and the United States,” said William Downe, Deputy Chair, BMO Financial Group and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Nesbitt Burns.

“With solid business relationships in China dating back to the last century, BMO is well positioned to continue to expand its services and to take advantage of the significant growth anticipated in the asset management marketplace.”

The Chinese are known as the world's largest savers, saving over 30 per cent of annual disposable income, representing about 40 per cent of GDP. Currently, there are approximately $CDN 1.6 trillion (US$1.2 trillion) in Chinese bank deposits. It is expected that in five to 10 years there will be $CDN102 billion to $CDN 205 billion (US$75 billion to US$150 billion) in assets available for management in China.

“We are very pleased that BMO Financial Group has joined Fullgoal to help Chinese investors accumulate, protect and grow their financial assets,” said Yu Zhihao, Chairman, Fullgoal Fund Management Company Ltd. “By combining BMO‘s extensive experience in investment funds management, product manufacturing and distribution with our firm understanding of the Chinese markets, we will be able to offer clients a wider range of products and services to meet all of their investment needs.”

“We respect BMO’s strong reputation for corporate governance and its expertise in investment risk management. We will work together to deepen and expand the scope of our cooperation in all areas, which will contribute greatly to our continued growth and success,” added Mr. Yu.

Fullgoal Fund Management Company Ltd.
Fullgoal Fund Management Company Ltd. is one of China’s largest mutual fund companies, with over $CDN 1.4 billion ($US 1 billion) in assets under management. Fullgoal has four closed-end funds, one open-ended fund and it has submitted an application for regulatory approval to launch a sixth fund. Registered in 1999, Fullgoal’s shareholders include several of China’s leading securities firms and investment and trust companies. Fullgoal is one of the original fund management companies that was established with the approval of the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

BMO Financial Group
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: BMO) is a highly diversified financial services organization. It includes BMO Bank of Montreal, its Canadian retail arm, Chicago-based Harris Bank, a major Midwest financial services provider, and BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of Canada’s largest full-service investment firms.

BMO Financial Group’s wealth management businesses in Canada and the United States are part of the organization's Private Client Group. The Private Client Group provides integrated wealth management services and has total assets under management and administration and term investments of $CDN 279 billion ($US 183.5 billion) at January 31, 2003, excluding the recent acquisition of Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney Inc.   

BMO Financial Group in China
BMO Financial Group has a long history with China dating back to the early 1800s.  In 1996, it was the first Canadian bank, the third from North America and the eighth in the world to be granted a branch license in Beijing.  Today, with branch offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong and a representative office in Shanghai, BMO is one of the leading foreign financial institutions in China.