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KRX eyes to be Asia's market leader after 60 yrs of foundation

All Headlines 18:00 March 02, 2016

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's bourse operator chief vowed efforts Wednesday to be a key player in Asia's financial market based on its experiences and know-how over the past 60 years.

Choi Kyung-soo, CEO of the Korea Exchange (KRX), made the remarks during a ceremony in Seoul marking the 60th anniversary of its foundation.

On March 3, 1956, South Korea launched the Daehan Stock Exchange, the predecessor of the KRX, with a total of 12 companies listed on the main bourse including four banks.

On the back of the economic development in the 1970s and '80s, the local stock market has achieved the exponential growth to have 770 companies on the main KOSPI and 1,157 firms on the secondary KOSDAQ market as of the end of last year, with the daily turnover reaching 8.87 trillion won on average.

"The stock market has served as a key venue for managing assets for our people, and has been expanding its horizons by selling the trading platform to foreign entities," Choi said.

"Now is the time to go a notch higher by strengthening our global competitiveness. In the 60 years to come, the KRX needs to be a leading entity in Asia's stock market beyond the current role of supporting the local economic growth," the CEO said.

Pointing to the limited growth potential under the current conglomerate-focused structure, he also vowed efforts to help cultivate start-ups as future growth engines.

As part of its structural reform, the KRX has been pushing to establish a holding company to oversee the exchanges as well as the derivative market, while pushing for the initial public offering through relevant bills pending in parliament.

The KRX is owned by about 40 local brokerage houses and futures firms, with each of their holdings not exceeding the 5 percent limit set under current laws. It was delisted as a public company in January.

"It is not a choice but a must for us to adopt the holding firm structure and go public, which will allow us to diversify the business portfolio," Choi said.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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