Brokerages lose brick-and-mortar branches

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Brokerages lose brick-and-mortar branches

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Banks are not the only part of the financial world seeing a shrinkage in brick-and-mortar branches.

Securities companies are also downsizing their physical footprints to reduce operating costs as more investors use online and mobile means for trading.

A total of 805 brokerage house branches closed across the country in the last seven years, leaving 1,013 open.

The number of branches peaked in June 2011 at 1,818 but shrunk to 1,778 by the end of that year. The number dwindled to 1,623 in 2012 and 1,476 in 2013.

The number of branches should dip below the 1,000 level soon.

Many investors use online and mobile trading systems these days.

Of all the investments made on the main Kospi bourse, online trading accounted for 42.7 percent last year while mobile device trading took up 34 percent, according to Korea Exchange.

Transactions done at branches accounted for a measly 14.8 percent.

The closing of branches has led to a fall in the number of employees at securities companies.

The number of workers in the securities industry was 36,542 as of June 30, down 2.3 percent, or 846 workers, compared to the same month last year.

When compared to the booming trading year of 2011, the number declined 17.3 percent, or 7,603 workers.


BY PARK EUN-JEE, CHO HYUN-SOOK [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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