Posted September. 01, 2005 07:09,
Sovereign Asset Management grossed nearly one trillion won in two years by investing in SK shares before it withdrew from the Korean market last month. But it paid only 14.9 billion won in taxes in Korea. The companys investment has made the Chandler brothers, the owners of the company, the richest people in New Zealand. The U.S.-based Newbridge Capital also raked in one trillion won in profits by selling Korea First Bank earlier this year. Since the Asian financial meltdown in 1997, the Korean finance market has become one in which foreign investors can make quick and easy money. The British daily, the Financial Times, even sarcastically said, Korea is not a good place to do business in, but an attractive place to make an investment in.
Foreign investors are taking advantage of their advanced knowledge and technology, which they acquired in the global market, to make money in the underdeveloped Korean market. The competitiveness of the finance industry is defined by a wealth of talented professionals. According to the IMD (International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland) World Competitiveness Yearbook 2004, Korea ranked 45th in terms of the quality of financial professionals, much lower than Hong Kong (11th) and Singapore (15th). Korea also has a smaller share of financial professionals (nine percent) than Singapore and Hong Kong (more than 50 percent). A massive outflow of national wealth is the price we have paid for neglecting the importance of nurturing talented human resources.
These days, many Koreans in the finance industry are working hard to reinvent themselves to become real professionals who can be recognized in the international market. They are not only attending private institutes but also delving into books even during lunch time to receive international certifications such as the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Financial Risk Manager (FRM), and the Society of Actuary (SOA). You cant understand how tough it is to study when you have a full time job until you experience it. Were confident that their efforts will lay the foundation for the advanced finance industry in Korea.
Choi Dong-oh and Song Mi-sook, a married couple working as assistant managers at the head office of Kookmin Bank, are envied by others for the CFA certificates they recently won. They made the achievement after three years of hard work; working during the day and studying at night. The CFA is the most prestigious license in the finance industry which you can only get after passing three strict tests. We hope that the couple can create another success story: advancing into the New Zealand finance market and making twice or three times the money that the Chandler brothers made in Korea.