Asset manager Nuveen exits sanctions-hit Chinese companies

Nuveen, the $1.1 trillion asset management arm of TIAA, has sold out of its holdings in the Chinese companies that will be barred to U.S. investors by recent sanctions.

The disposals come as U.S. investors scramble to exit stocks subject to the sanctions, which ban Americans from owning companies deemed to have links with China’s military.

Nuveen had held positions in several of the blacklisted companies, including China Telecom, SMIC, Xiaomi Corp, CNOOC, China Mobile and China Unicom Hong Kong, according to Refinitiv data up to the end of November last year. Of those, the largest was a 0.12% holding in the Hong Kong listing of China Telecom, the data showed.

TIAA is the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, a leading retirement provider for people in the education, not-for-profit, healthcare and government fields.

Other U.S. investors have made similar moves. BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, had sold almost all its stake in China Telecom, a stock market filing showed last week.

About $323 billion of Nuveen’s assets under management are invested in equities, its second-largest asset class behind fixed income, its website shows.

Big U.S. funds are expected to liquidate more holdings before the rules take effect in November 2021.

Before leaving office, Donald Trump’s administration slapped sanctions on 44 Chinese companies with alleged ties to the Chinese military, a move expected by financial executives to remain in place under Joe Biden’s presidency.