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Korea’s Shinhan Bank gains SFC licences

Seoul-based Shinhan Bank has been registered with the Hong Kong regulator for the first time.

Shinhan has been granted licences for dealing in securities (Type 1) and advising on securities (Type 4) by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) last month, according to records from the regulator.

This is the first time that the bank has been registered with the SFC, the records show. With the new licences, Shinhan Bank will be able to distribute investment products to investors.

Having a Type 1 licence enables firms to buy and sell mutual funds, as well as trade stocks and bonds, for clients, while a Type 4 licence enables firms to give investment advice to clients and issue research reports.

FSA sought more information from Shinhan, but it was not able to provide more details about its business plans in Hong Kong.

Incorporated in South Korea, the bank has operated a branch in Hong Kong under a restricted banking licence since 2006, which was upgraded to a banking licence in 2008, according to information from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

In Hong Kong, the bank has personal and corporate banking businesses, according to the firm’s website. Currently, the bank’s personal banking business only includes deposits and loan management services, while its corporate banking business includes deposits and loans, as well as remittance services.

In its home country, the bank has a private banking arm. Shinhan Financial Group, the bank’s parent, launched a private wealth management centre in 2012, according to the firm’s 2019 annual report. As of the end of last year, there were 29 centres throughout the country, with 14,422 clients having assets of at least KRW 1bn ($842,677).

Shinhan also has other affiliates operating in Hong Kong, including Shinhan Investment Asia and Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management (Hong Kong), SFC records show.

Shinhan Investment Asia, which obtained Type 1 and 4 licences in 2007 and an asset management (Type 9) licence in 2012, operates as a securities brokerage and investment banking company, according to data from Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management (Hong Kong) has held Type 4 and 9 licences since 2011, SFC records show. Its Seoul-based parent, Shinhan BNP Paribas AM, is a joint venture between Shinhan Financial Group and BNP Paribas Group. Shinhan Financial has a 65% stake in the JV, while BNP Paribas owns the rest.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.