Samsung Securities aims for pan-Asia presence

Samsung Securities aims for pan-Asia presence

Hong Kong: Samsung Securities is looking to increase its footprint to Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Singapore and India by taking advantage of the shrinking operations of US and European brokers in Asia, South Korea’s top brokerage said on Monday.

Samsung Securities will use its Hong Kong operations, where it plans to hire up to 52 people by the end of 2009, as a launch pad for its increased regional presence.

“The company is also in talks with three players to set up a joint venture (JV) in China," a senior executive said.

Samsung Securities announced its intention to set up shop in Hong Kong in August last year, but the plan was put on the backburner as global financial markets went into a tailspin.

“In the past, the gap between the global and Asian players was too wide and we experienced many crisis in the last few years, so we focused on fixing our own problems," said Chun Hyeon Park, president and CEO of Samsung Securities, who was in Hong Kong to formally launch the firm’s operations on Tuesday.

“Now that gap has been reduced and we are well prepared to grow our business. This was also a good chance to recruit well-qualified people in the region," he said.

Samsung Securities has hired former Deutsche Bank strategist Colin Bradbury to head research in Hong Kong.

Park said that Samsung Securities would find a firm footing in Hong Kong, where it invested $100 million in the first quarter of 2009, over the next two-three years after which it would increase its presence to other parts of the region through organic growth and acquisitions. The brokerage will also convert its Tokyo office into a sales branch.

The securities company, which is working on an initial public offering (IPO) for a German company in Hong Kong, will focus on the capital-raising needs of mid-sized Chinese industrial companies.

Shares in Samsung Securities fell 2% on Monday, amid the broad sell-off in the regional markets, but have spiked 24% so far this year.

Earlier this month, the firm reported a 4.3% rise in quarterly net profit as global financial markets’ stabilisation and a gradual recovery in domestic stock markets helped boost stockbroking commissions.

Samsung Securities’ profit growth paled when compared to its peers such as Daewoo Securities, whose net earnings more than doubled year-on-year in its first quarter.

Daewoo Securities is gearing up to launch its investment banking serives in Hong Kong, according to a local media report in July.