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KB Financial chief vows to boost shares via strong portfolio

KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo speaks to reporters in Yeouido, Seoul, on Thursday, a day after he was nominated as the sole candidate for the chair post. (Yonhap)
KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo speaks to reporters in Yeouido, Seoul, on Thursday, a day after he was nominated as the sole candidate for the chair post. (Yonhap)
KB Financial Group Chairman Yoon Jong-kyoo, who is likely to keep his role for another three-year term, pledged Thursday to boost the firm’s shares with a strong and versatile portfolio.

“As you can see, KB’s shares have remained at a disastrous level for some time, which reflects concerns surrounding South Korea’s economy and finance coupled with doubts about traditional institutions’ competitiveness in the contactless era,” Yoon told reporters on his way to work in the morning. “Such concerns have to be combated through a diverse financial portfolio.”

KB Financial Group’s shares, listed on the main bourse Kospi, closed at 37,950 won ($32.30) Thursday. This represented a nearly 20 percent drop from the beginning of the year, despite inching up 0.13 percent from the previous session. All four major banking groups -- KB, Woori, Shinhan and Hana -- saw their share prices plummet by an average of 25 percent, as the Kospi advanced nearly 11 percent in the same period.

Besides coronavirus woes, the shares were apparently dragged down by the investors’ shift in attention to new financial platforms, such as internet-only banks. According to over-the-counter trading platform U-stockplus on Wednesday, shares of Kakao Bank were trading at 126,000 won a day earlier for a market value of 46.22 trillion won.

The figure was far higher than the combined market capitalization of the four major financial groups -- Shinhan Financial Group, Hana Financial Group, Woori Financial Group and KB Financial Group -- which amounted to about 44.42 trillion won.

On Wednesday the group’s chairman recommendation committee, made up of seven outside directors, chose Yoon as the sole and final candidate for the role.

Yoon, who has led KB Financial since 2014, will begin his third term as the KB Financial chair if approved at the firm’s extraordinary shareholders meeting in November.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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