Brokerages set sights on managing assets of rich

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Brokerages set sights on managing assets of rich

Korean brokerage houses are scurrying to offer private and tailored asset management services for the affluent, joining the contest for a growing wealth management service market in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, sources said yesterday.

Major local brokerages have begun providing special wealth management services for big-pocketed clients with millions or billions of won in cash in hand. The services range from wealth management to consultation on matters such as taxes, travel and even their children’s marriages.

No. 1 player Samsung Securities has seven branches targeting VIPs in Seoul, employing 66 senior private bankers to manage a total of 8 trillion won ($7.1 billion) in assets owned by 321 customers.

Mirae Asset Securities operates three VIP centers and this week started what they call “office service,” which integrates corporate consulting into the existing asset management business for the super-rich.

Another leading brokerage, Korea Investment & Securities, has opened a “V Privilege Center” in central Seoul, with a second branch to be launched in Busan in the first half of this year, the sources said.

As such exclusive wealth management services cover private affairs including family matters, some market watchers voiced concerns that the brokerages could be covert channels for the rich to avoid taxes or obtain insider trading on specific stocks.

“We are forbidden by our corporate code of conduct to disclose any information subject to tax evasion,” an official at a brokerage firm said.


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