Neuberger Berman’s China equity team – which includes Citywire A-rated Lihui Tang and Frank Yao – is to leave the firm and launch its own independent investment business, Citywire Selector has learned.

The move will see Yao and Tang, as well as research analysts and traders within the US group’s Greater China investment team form a new group called Green Court Capital Management.

As part of the move – which will see Neuberger Berman own a passive stake in Green Court Capital Management – the team is expected continue to oversee the Dublin-domiciled Neuberger Berman China Equity fund.

Yao and his team, who operate within Neuberger Berman Asia Limited, have overseen the fund since it was launched as a Ucits-compliant fund in 2009. The move is expected to be complete by the second quarter of 2017.

In a statement accompanying a shareholder note, which was seen by Citywire Selector, Neuberger Berman said: ‘Neuberger Berman are confident that Green Court will continue to thrive as an independent platform, while continue working in partnership with Neuberger Berman in the management of the fund.’

It added there will be no change in the investment philosophy or process, with the transition designed to be as seamless as possible.

Speaking to Citywire Selector, a spokesperson for NB said: ‘An important strategic initiative for our firm over the last decade has been to increase our global client and investment capabilities. As we build those capabilities in China, we decided to establish Green Court as an independent business, with Neuberger Berman retaining an ongoing passive minority ownership stake.

‘We have also established a local investment entity, Neuberger Berman Investment Management (Shanghai) Limited, an entity designed to provide investment services to China’s domestic market. Industry veteran Patrick Liu joined us in February as head of china and general manager of the WFOE.’

The Neuberger Berman China Equity fund has returned 32.9% in US dollar terms over the three years to the end of February 2017. This compares to a rise of 17.2% by its Citywire-assigned benchmark, the MSCI Zhong Hua TR USD, over the same timeframe.