The Korea Herald


Hana Securities to bolster foreign investor services on regulatory easing

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Feb. 1, 2024 - 15:57

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The headquarters of Hana Securities in Yeouido, Seoul. (Hana Securities) The headquarters of Hana Securities in Yeouido, Seoul. (Hana Securities)

Hana Securities, the brokerage unit of South Korean finance giant Hana Financial Group, on Thursday announced it has established a new foreign investment team.

According to the Hana subsidiary, the move comes in response to the recent abolition of the foreign investors' registration system by the local government.

Starting in December, South Korea scrapped a 30-year-old policy that required foreign nationals to register with the local financial regulators to open an account and trade on the domestic market.

Now, foreign nationals can create accounts with just a passport number or, in the case of corporate entities, with a legal entity identifier.

The reform came as part of the government's efforts to attract more overseas investment and meet global standards.

Further aiming to make trading in South Korea more convenient for foreign nationals, the authorities also eased the reporting system for omnibus account holders -- by which multiple individuals of foreign nationality can trade under a single account established by a global asset management or securities company -- while adjusting the prior approval system for off-board transactions.

In line with the regulatory improvement, Hana Securities recently launched a foreign investment solutions team that will focus on advancing its system for potential foreign investors, including the enhancement of the currency exchange process.

The new group will also take steps to introduce the omnibus account system for its foreign investors not living in Korea.

According to a Hana Securities official on the team, despite the omnibus account program being approved locally through policies, strict restrictions limit the local brokerages in opening and managing them.

Hana Securities, currently ineligible to operate the system, plans to boost the use of customer-segregated accounts first, which will allow foreign nationals not residing in South Korea to use their existing accounts at home to trade here.

"Foreign investment is expected to increase with the abolition of the more than three-decades-old registration system," Cho Dae-hyeon, the head of Hana Securities' Wealth Management Sales Division, said.

"The firm will do its best to foster a culture for non-resident foreign nationals to invest easily through improving our internal process and system in line with the regulatory changes."

Meanwhile, Hana Securities posted a net loss of 270.8 billion won ($203.2 million) on a consolidated basis in 2023, swinging to the red from a net profit of 96.6 billion won in the previous year. The company also recorded an operating loss of 334 billion won last year.