Korea Investment & Securities, a leading brokerage in South Korea, has been striving to expand its operations in Vietnam as part of its mid-term vision to become a top-tier investment bank in the Asian region by year 2020.
Korea Investment & Securities’ headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul. (KIS)
“KIS was the most active among South Korea financial companies to expand outwards into the Asian market and is now successfully performing direct investment and financial consulting services related to Vietnam, Indonesia and China,” said an official of the company.
The company’s extensive range of overseas operations not only offers a wide range of investment opportunities to its customers but also contributes to the economic development of Asia’s emerging countries, according to the official.
KIS first set foot in the Vietnamese market in 2010 by inquiring stocks of local brokerage EPS Securities. It then took less than five years for the South Korea operator to boost the once sluggish securities firm into one of the market’s top 10.
As of the end of last year, KIS Vietnam was ranked ninth in the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange and sixth in the Hanoi Stock Exchange in terms of brokerage market cap. Its assets totaled at 220 billion won ($202 million) as of the end of November this year, marking the most visible business success for the Korean securities sector.
The company attributed its success in Vietnam to two key factors – full-scale localization and a long-term building up of trust with local officials.
“Among 193 employees in all of the six KIS offices in Vietnam, only three are Korean correspondents, while the rest are mostly local professionals,” the company official explained.
“By minimizing manpower, we were able to focus more on providing advanced information technology and system to our users.”
Also, KIS had been working together with Vietnamese civil servants for more than 10 years before starting business in the Southeast Asian state, the official added.
Such trust relationship was partly what led the Vietnamese financial authorities to alleviate investment regulations and increase the amount ceiling for foreigners’ shares from the former 49 percent to the current 98.7 percent in 2014.
By Bae Hyun-jung (email@example.com