JP Morgan announces Korea leadership reshuffle

FA speaks to the new leadership about Korea’s position as one of the most active debt capital markets in Asia Pacific.

US investment banking stalwart, JP Morgan, has announced changes to the senior leadership of its Seoul-headquartered Korean business. 

The news sees Tae Jin Park (pictured), a 20-year veteran at the bank and former Korea senior country officer (SCO), become vice chairman of Asia Pacific and chairman of the domestic market. Meanwhile, Howard Kim adds to his existing responsibilities as branch manager of JP Morgan Chase Bank and leader of the Korean Corporate Banking business, by stepping up to replace Park as SCO.

A statement circulated by the bank detailed that in his new role, Park would explore opportunities to further expand business in the market, advise on location and regional initiatives, and support “priority client and regulatory engagements”.

As SCO, Kim will represent the Korean franchise, strengthen client relationships, drive local governance and controls, and support broader employee and community initiatives.

“Korea as a market, represents one of the most diverse set of product opportunities,” Kim told FinanceAsia. He pointed to the breadth of opportunity across corporate, institutional and government clients based in the local market.

The bank has been present in Korea for more than five decades, and touts its status as the first international bank to set up a local base.

Dollar financing facilitator

Kim emphasised JP Morgan’s continued commitment to invest locally in Korea, through the expansion of its commercial effort to serve mid-cap companies; and the launch of merchant services to extend client reach; among other initiatives.

Offering some colour around the themes set to impact Korean capital markets activity over coming months, Park shared, “While volatility in financial markets is not yet over, foreign capital-raising efforts remain consistent.”

“There are pre-IPO investment opportunities by private equity investors in lieu of public market options, and Korea is one of the most active debt capital markets in Asia Pacific as capex intense issuers such as chip makers and EV battery manufacturers continue to look for US dollar financing.”

Kim echoed this sentiment, sharing that it is imperative for JP Morgan “to provide strong support in both capital markets and advisory services to large Korean conglomerates as these companies continue to look for global growth.”

He added, “We see opportunities in new growth industries in Korea such as bio, EV battery, e-commerce and fintech sectors, as these companies require funding support to further grow their business.”

A spokesperson for JP Morgan told FA that in his career with the bank to date, Park has played a leading role in providing advisory services to Korean clients across a wide range of industry sectors – from banking and energy, to e-commerce and the internet. 

The contact emphasised his instrumental role in KB Financial Group’s acquisition of Prudential Life; and the sale of Woowa Brothers to Delivery Hero. He has also led major IPOs and foreign capital raising for corporate clients, including for Samsung Electronics, Coupang, Doosan Bobcat and LINE.   

Kim has worked in the banking industry for over two decades. Prior to joining the bank in 2020, he served in roles including head of Global Banking for Korea at HSBC, and head of Investment Banking for Korea at Morgan Stanley.

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