Shown above is the head office of Mirae Asset Securities in Seoul. The investment banking giant has wrapped up the acquisition of London-based market maker GHCO. Photo courtesy of Mirae Asset Securities

Korea’s top investment banking firm tapping into European ETF market

South Korea’s top investment banking company Mirae Asset Securities announced on May 16 that its London affiliate had completed the acquisition of European ETF market maker GHCO.

Toward that end, Mirae Asset Securities received the green light from such European regulators as the Financial Conduct Authority of the U.K. and the Hellenic Capital Market Commissions of Greece.

“We will contribute to the global ETF ecosystem based on the technical edge of GHCO and the breadth of Mirae Asset infrastructure,” Mirae Asset Securities’ London unit chief Kim Seung-wook said.

“First of all, we will work on post-merger integration jobs along with GHCO employees so as to strengthen the service competitiveness of GHCO.”

As one of the leading market makers and liquidity providers in Europe, London-based GHCO has focused on ETFs with the goal of expanding into other asset classes.

Established in 2005 as a market maker and liquidity provider, GHCO has built up an extensive portfolio covering more than 2,000 contracted listings and a strong presence among the top-tier European asset managers.

Included in its customers are Blackrock, Vanguard, and Global X.

Short for Exchange Trade Funds, ETFs track an index as compared to index funds. They are regarded as low-risk investments because of their diversification, affordable management feeds, and high price visibility.

Over the past several years, ETFs have gained traction across the globe thanks to their notable performances, and Europe is the second-largest market following the United States.

Mirae Asset vehemently going global

This is not the first time for Mirae Asset Securities to snap up foreign ETF companies.

Under the stewardship of its founder Park Hyeon-joo, in fact, Mirae Asset has pulled out all the stops to go global.

In 2011, the Seoul-headquartered corporation bought Canada’s Horizons ETFs, and in 2018, it acquired Global X, a New York-based issuer.

Last year, it purchased ETF Securities, presently Global X Australia, one of the top players in the country.

As a result, the asset under management of Mirae Asset ETFs amounted to 135 trillion won ($101 billion) as of the end of last year, compared to some $7.5 billion in 2016.

The London deal is also the first purchase of any financial company made by an offshore arm of Korean brokerage houses outside the Asian market.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.