Goldman Sachs Said to Plan Exit From Korea Asset Management

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. plans to exit the South Korean asset management business amid sluggish global stock markets, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

The Wall Street firm will probably take steps to protect customers of its Goldman Sachs Asset Management Korea Co. unit, said two of the people, who asked not to be named as the matter is private. They didn’t specify the timing of an exit.

“Our expectations for the local Korean asset management business have not been met,” Niklas Ekholm, a London-based spokesman for Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said in an e-mailed statement.

Combined operating income at 82 South Korean asset management firms fell 21 percent in the quarter ended June from a year earlier as declining asset values hampered fee income, Financial Supervisory Service data show.

MoneyToday, a Korean-language Internet news provider, reported the planned withdrawal earlier today. Deutsche Bank AG, Fidelity Investments and ING Groep NV are also considering selling some of their South Korean asset management businesses, MoneyToday reported.

Goldman Sachs Asset Management Korea had 40 employees and six directors as of June 30, according to data on its website. It began operations after Goldman Sachs bought Macquarie IMM Asset Management Co. in September 2007, the website shows.

The unit posted a net loss of 7.27 billion won ($6.7 million) for the year ended March, according to the website.

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