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Foreign firms take up 40% of brokerage sector

Foreign players account for 40 percent of the South Korean brokerage industry as they push to boost their presence here amid a series of local firms' shutdowns and mergers, the financial regulator said Monday.

According to the Financial Supervisory Service, 22 foreign securities companies and branches were in operation in the country as of the end of September this year, with the overall number of industry players reaching 55.

Of the foreign companies, 11 were wholly owned subsidiaries with the remainder being local branches.


Seven years ago, securities companies operating in Asia's fourth-largest economy totaled 62 with the number of foreign players reaching 21.

The financial regulator said foreign companies have been pushing to tap into the South Korean brokerage industry amid local players' hardships.

In late November, China Merchants Securities Co. established a wholly owned subsidiary here, becoming the first Chinese brokerage house to do so. Three months later, Japan's Mizuho Securities Co. opened a branch in Seoul.

In contrast, three local securities companies were shuttered due to poor performances during the seven-year period, while four firms were merged into other industry players.

Despite their large number, foreign securities companies accounted for around 10 percent of the industry's total workforce and paid-in capital.

The number of workers employed by 20 foreign securities firms, excluding China Merchants Securities and Mizuho Securities, took up 8.5 percent of the industry's entire payroll of 32,585 as of end-June, according to the Korea Financial Investment Association.

Their combined assets came to 27.5 trillion won, or 6.9 percent of the industry total, with equity capital of 5.7 trillion won, or 11.1 percent. (Yonhap)