Investing in South Korean stocks to get easier for foreigners in 2023: Regulator

Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential election candidate of South Korea's main opposition People Power Party (PPP), and Lee Jae-myung, the presidential election candidate of the ruling Democratic Party, attend a ceremony for the first trading day of stock market at the Korea Exchange (KRX) in Seoul, South Korea, on Jan 3, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters

SEOUL — South Korea plans to scrap a number of regulations in the local stock market within this year to make investment easier for foreign investors, its financial regulator said on Tuesday (Jan 24), in an effort to bring in more money into the market.

The Financial Services Commission said in a statement there was a huge discrepancy between the regulations currently in place and the global standards and that "(it) will boldly improve regulations that have hindered global investors from investing in our market."

The regulator said it would scrap a three-decade-old rule that requires foreigners to register with authorities prior to trading South Korean stocks.

Instead, they will be allowed to open accounts with an internationally used identification, such as passport for individuals or legal entity identifier (LEI) for organisations.

It will also lift a rule that requires omnibus account holders, such as asset management firms and brokerages, to report on transaction details of each final investor within two days of settlement, as well as open up most of off-board trading to foreigners.

Meanwhile, it will become mandatory for South Korea's listed companies to provide corporate filings in English from 2024, starting with those of large sizes or high ratio of foreign shareholders, according to the statement.

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The push comes as South Korea pursues the promotion of its stock market to Morgan Stanley Capital International's developed market index. It is currently categorised as an emerging market by the global index provider.

The regulator plans to complete the required legislation revision process in the first half of this year to implement such changes within 2023.