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Standard Chartered CEO cements partnership with S. Korean fintech leaders

Standard Chartered Bank's Chief Executive Bill Winters (Standard Chartered Bank Korea)
Standard Chartered Bank's Chief Executive Bill Winters (Standard Chartered Bank Korea)
After completing a two-week self-quarantine period in South Korea, London-based Standard Chartered Bank CEO Bill Winters has been traveling back and forth between South Korea’s capital Seoul and Pangyo, touted as the nation’s Silicon Valley, meeting with a number of high-profile figures in the domestic financial technology industry in recent days, according to sources Tuesday.

Winters was initially granted a quarantine exemption upon his arrival in the country on Aug. 30, but decided to carry out a self-quarantine measure for the sake of caution. Even after his two-week self-imposed quarantine ended, he stayed low-profile by avoiding the media spotlight. He then first met the nation’s financial watchdog Financial Supervisory Service’s Gov. Yoon Suk-heun on Sept. 16. They reportedly discussed issues concerning the global fintech market, Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

The SC Bank chief headed to the online-only Kakao Bank’s headquarters, located in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, the next day. Winters and the chief executive of the nation’s top internet-only bank reportedly discussed possible cooperation that could integrate SC Bank’s global network and Kakao Bank’s banking services platform.

On Friday, Winters had a meeting with Viva Republica CEO Lee Seung-gun to discuss issues linked to the nation’s third internet-only bank, Toss Bank, which is slated to be launched next year, according to local news reports. Viva Republica currently runs mobile fintech platform Toss. SC Bank Korea is a member of Viva Republica’s consortium that won the government’s preliminary approval for the launch of the online bank last year, with a 6.67 percent stake.

Winters reportedly told Lee about the experience in launching and operating the SC-supported virtual bank Mox in Hong Kong, of which the global banking group currently owns 65.1 percent.

The meeting was then followed by the SC CEO’s visit to the headquarters of NHN Payco, a local payment solutions firm that SC Bank has partnered with since 2015. Winters met with the firm’s CEO Jeong Yeon-hun, where they reportedly discussed bolstering cooperation in areas including financial products and money transfers.

Winters is scheduled to meet Financial Services Commission Chairman Eun Sung-soo on Thursday, where he is projected to discuss Korea’s potential as Asia’s next financial hub. A recently passed security law in Hong Kong, expected to infringe on the freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly, is widely considered to affect the city-nation’s role as Asia’s main financial center. Winters recently told CNBC that Hong Kong’s position as a global financial hub remains “very, very safe.”

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