CIMB has opened a brokerage and corporate advisory businesses in Seoul, South Korea, after obtaining an equities brokerage licence from the country’s Financial Services Commission.
John Choi, the branch manager and the head of equities, and Sean Cho, the head of investment banking will lead a staff of 39 people, providing stock brokerage, research and corporate advisory services to both domestic and international clients.
CIMB, Malaysia’s second-biggest financial services provider, is the first Asean financial institution to be granted its equities brokerage licence through an application process. CIMB Korea currently covers 28 Korean stocks, which represent 35% of Kospi market capitalisation, ranging across banking and finance, telecommunications, ship building, transportation, large cap technology, internet and gaming. By early the third quarter of this year, it expects to cover more than 80 Korean stocks.
“We are delighted to have gotten off the ground in Korea,” said Nazir Razak, group chief executive, CIMB Group, in a statement yesterday. “This is a continued expansion of our North Asia investment banking platform and brings us closer to comprehensively covering all key Asia Pacific ex-Japan markets. We can now offer our global clients access to the Korean equity market and catalyse more business and investment flows between Korea and Asean.” Based in Kuala Lumpur, CIMB is present in eight out of 10 Asean countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam and Myanmar). It is also active in China, Hong Kong, Bahrain, India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, the US and UK.
CIMB offers consumer banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, asset management and insurance products and services, and has retail branch network in Asean of more than 1,000 branches.
Last year, it bought RBS’s Asia Pacific investment banking and cash equities operations, in order to further its regional ambitions. These did not include the UK bank’s Korean business, which it retained in order to keep its securities licence.
CIMB Group operates its business through three main brand entities, CIMB Bank, CIMB Investment Bank and CIMB Islamic, and is listed on Bursa Malaysia with a market capitalisation of about MYR56.71 billion ($18.3 billion) as at December 31, 2012.