Woori Financial Group is set to re-establish its presence in the brokerage market, outlining plans to acquire digital brokerage Korea Foss Securities in Q3. This marks a significant return to stock trading for Woori after a hiatus since its sale of Woori Investment & Securities in 2014. Deputy President Lee Jung-soo confirmed the group’s ambitions to rank among the top 10 brokerage firms within a decade, and additional acquisitions may follow to achieve this goal. The merger proposal with Woori Investment Bank, which is to be absorbed by Foss Securities, was approved by board meetings, aiming for Financial Services Commission ratification by July and operational launch by August. Woori will hold a dominant 97.1 percent share post-merger, intending to move toward full ownership. Korea Foss, an online brokerage leader, will bolster Woori through its digital prowess and ‘Fund Supermarket’ platform. The post-merger entity is expected to command a significant industry standing with a combined net capital of 1.2 trillion won. The company’s near-term strategy includes expanding investment banking and developing mobile and retail brokerage capacities. Woori Investment Bank’s CEO Nam Ki-cheon highlighted the forthcoming emphasis on artificial intelligence and digital services, including a comprehensive mobile brokerage app and a unified platform, ‘New Won.’ Woori’s physical branch network will remain limited, focusing on high-net-worth services, supporting the digital mass-marketing strategy. This merger is part of a broader initiative of Woori diversifying beyond traditional bank operations and possibly extending to the insurance market with potential acquisition bids for Lotte Insurance.

Financial Services, Information Technology, Insurance,South Korea

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