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Merrill Lynch raising up to $3bn for Asia fund

The US investment bank revealed its plans to reporters at China’s Boao Forum. At the same summit, Credit Agricole’s investment banking arm said it is also planning an Asian property fund at $1bn.

Merrill Lynch is raising a $2.5 billion to $3 billion (€1.6 billion to €1.9 billion) property fund to invest in Asia, according to the firm’s Pacific Rim head.

Speaking to reporters at the Boao Forum, a yearly pan-Asia policy summit in China’s Hainan Province, Damian Chunilal said the fund will be looking at areas across the region including Japan, Australia and India.

The move is part of a larger push by the firm to create third-party funds. Chunilal told reporters that such a model would be repeated in the future with different types of funds, including possible infrastructure funds. He also pointed out that though the global credit crunch has affected Asian markets, he believes they would weather the storm because there is enough liquidity in the banking system.

On the sidelines of the same summit CLSA, the Asia-focused investment banking arm of French bank Credit Agricole, revealed it is also raising an Asian property fund. CLSA chairman Rob Morrison told Reuters that the firm is raising a roughly $1 billion pan-Asia property fund that will focus on China, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. He told the news agency that the new fund would invest about 20 to 30 percent of its cash in China.