South Korea’s No. 1 brokerage by market cap

Samsung Securities Co., South Korea’s No. 1 brokerage by market cap, said on Wednesday it is downsizing its Hong Kong operation, a move seen to dampen the global expansion by South Korean securities firms.

Samsung Securities’ Hong Kong office will focus on brokering South Korean equities for international buyers, shifting from trading regional equities and stock research, company insiders said.

The company had earlier aimed to become a leading regional player in Asia by 2015, and one of the top 10 financial players worldwide by 2020.

The Hong Kong unit, Samsung Securities’ international headquarters, has been headed by Hwang Sung-june, who joined the company in 2010 from Credit Suisse, where he co-headed Asia equities outside Japan.

Hwang had been aggressively recruiting professionals from global investment banks, in a bid to build a strong sales and research team.

The subsidiary in the Chinese territory, however, reported the worst loss among 93 foreign units of 19 South Korean brokerages during the April-September period last year, losing $ 25.4 million.

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