Kexim CFO is capital markets person of the year

Sung-hwan Choi was given the only individual award at FinanceAsia's annual awards dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel to celebrate the top deals and investment banks of 2013.
Sung-hwan Choi
Sung-hwan Choi

Sung-hwan Choi, chief financial officer of Kexim, was named Capital Markets Person of the Year for 2013 at FinanceAsia's awards dinner on Tuesday night, in the only individual award to be given out.

Held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong, the event attracted more than 250 bankers and company executives, celebrating achievements in deal-making in 2013.

Choi, a long-time Kexim employee who has worked at the lender for the past few decades, assumed the role as CFO in 2012.

In the role, he has been instrumental in leading a funding team that has raised an average of $10 billion annually for the past three years. 

Bankers frequently describe the bank as being savvy in its funding plans, and Choi has been the man behind running this efficient funding team, which results in cost savings for scores of Korean companies that it lends to.

Kexim raised about $10 billion in 2013 from public bond offerings and private placements, tapping 18 different currencies, including niche currencies such as the Norwegian kroner, Czech koruna, New Zealand dollar and Indonesian rupiah.

The policy bank has zealously diversified its investor base to reduce its dependence on a single market. As the global financial crisis proved, markets can shut down. It has been willing to try different products to seek out new investors.

In the past year, it issued Asia's first "green" bond, or climate friendly bond. When investors were worried about rising rates, Kexim launched a floating-rate note bond.

Where Kexim goes, often others follow. The policy lender regularly establishes benchmarks for other borrowers. In 2013, it tapped both the euro and sterling market - becoming the first Korean borrower to do so after the global financial crisis and re-opening the market for other borrowers.

"Kexim has regularly re-opened the market and paved the way for other borrowers," said one banker. "They have been willing to try different things and they have paved the way for other Korean banks and Asian borrowers," he added.

The event recognised India's Reliance Industries as borrower of the year, Citi as Best Bank, HSBC as Best Commercial Bank and Best Bond House. UBS bagged Best Investment Bank and Best Equity House, while Best M&A House went to Morgan Stanley.


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