Former Publicis & Burson-Marsteller Senior Staffer In Police Custody In China

Li Yifei

Is United Kingdom based hedge fund, Man Group’s China Chair, Li Yigei helping in Police Investigation?

Li Yifei, the Chair of China’s branch of Man Group is believed to have been taken into protected custody to assist the Chinese officials in their investigation about stock market volatility over the last couple of months.

Li Yifei’s husband has gone on record that she is in highly confidential meetings but does not believe those meetings are with Chinese police forces.

Further stating her position of Chair for China’s office of Man Group did not put her in the types of situations where she would have information to share about the problems being investigated.


Li Yifei Public Relations As this news broke from Bloomberg, a separate news story also broke about a financial reporter in China confessing on their national TV. Reports are he spread false information to tell a better story and in that process his actions caused “panic and disorder.”

The reporter for Caijing business magazine, Wang Xiaolu, read a prepared confession leaving many suspicious about how true or freely given that confession was.

And, in yet another news story, the Chinese security people have arrested several officials from CITIC Securities. CITIC invested recently in a new Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership (QDLP) Fund started by the Man Group.

The fund is based in Shenzhen, Shang Hai. CITIC is China’s largest stock brokerage and is believed to be at least partially funded by the state.

This is all part of the Chinese police looking into rumors about the stock market and causing malicious short selling, a state offense in China.

Even though it is believed that Li Yifei from Man Group is not under investigation, it’s a scary prospect when the government may be looking for a scapegoat for the financial crisis happening in their country.

Li Yifei Man Group

Li was born in Beijing and got her degree in international law at China Foreign Affairs University. She then came to the U.S. and got her master’s degree from Baylor University in PR. Remaining in the U.S., she started her career in New York at the UN headquarters, then on to PR work at Burson-Marsteller, MTV/Viacom China then hired her, bringing her back to Beijing.

She then spent some time working for the China operations of London-based hedge fund GLG Partners in 2008. After that, she became President of Greater China operations for Publicis Groupe, a French PR and advertising firm. In 2011, she began her current job with Man Group.

UPDATE: Man Group just reported their Q3 stats, even though China saw massive losses equaling trillions of investors’ money, Man Group sustained very little loss. And all things considered, are having a decent 2015.

Li Yifei responded to all the above reports by saying she had not been taken into custody, nor asked to assist in any police investigation. Instead, she explained her “disappearance” as attending industry meetings and was on a 5-6 day trip mediating for clients and representing Man Group.

Though very little news or reports came from Burson-Marsteller directly surrounding the incident Li Yifei or the Q3 report. Man Group received positive comments for the efforts from several analysts and hedge fund managers. As is often the case with crisis management PR, the less you see the hand of the PR representatives, the better, but Li Yifei’s PR background probably attributes much of what’s found in the good reports.

In Li Yifei’s case, once she showed up again and reported on what happened during her time away, what more needed saying? Continuing to talk about the incident would mean it remained a sore spot, rather than something to be left behind.

Burson-Marsteller is part of Young and Rubicam, owned by WPP Group PLC, one of the largest conglomerates in the world. BM’s headquarters are in NYC but they have 67 wholly owned offices and 71 affiliate offices on six continents, making them a truly global PR firm.

The company founded in 1953 by William Marsteller and Harold Burson is considered a premiere crisis management PR firm – working at global levels. Their biggest textbook crisis management case was in the 70s representing Tylenol when bottles turned up laced with poison.

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