Samsung’s finance units try to trim staffing costs

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Samsung’s finance units try to trim staffing costs

Key financial affiliates of Korea’s No. 1 conglomerate Samsung Group have eliminated hundreds of jobs via voluntary retirement programs as part of efforts to cut costs amid a prolonged economic slowdown, industry sources said yesterday.

Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance, the country’s top non-life insurer, has recently implemented a voluntary retirement program and dismissed around 150 workers.

Samsung Fire has enforced the program annually since 2009, according to the sources.

The move comes as the lack of viable high-yield investment options have weighed down on the firm’s asset management returns.

Samsung Card, the country’s No. 2 industry player, recently cut some 100 workers.

The average commission rate for merchants with annual sales of less than 200 million won ($186,200) was lowered to 1.5 percent from the previous 1.8 percent in September, according to the Credit Finance Association.

The reduction in commission rates came as credit card firms were under sharp criticism for charging far higher fees to smaller merchants than large.

Other financial arms of the leading business group such as Samsung Securities and Samsung Asset Management also plan to reduce their workforce via similar measures, according to the sources.

Samsung Life Insurance, Korea’s top life insurer, said it will focus on tapping overseas markets instead of reducing its workforce in an effort to boost its sales.

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