UBS Said to Mull Relinquishing Its South Korea Banking License

  • Zurich-based lender would run units under securities permit
  • Bank said to inform regulators of plan, based on 2009 law

UBS Group AG is considering giving up its banking license in South Korea, taking advantage of legislation that allows the bank to operate all its businesses in the country under its separate securities license, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Zurich-based lender informed regulators of the plan, said the person said, who asked not to be identified because the discussion was private.

“We are looking at a number of ways to enhance our efficiencies and over time strengthen our presence in Korea,” Jason Kendy, a Tokyo-based spokesman for UBS, said Tuesday in an e-mail. “We are reviewing various approaches that include removing unnecessary duplications and simplifying our business model.”

He declined to say if the bank has decided to give up its banking license. Yonhap Infomax reported the news earlier Tuesday.

South Korea implemented the Capital Markets Consolidation Act in February 2009, which allows a bank’s securities unit to house all other businesses including investment banking and equities under one roof. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. took a similar step to integrate its businesses into one onshore entity earlier this year.

The law allows for the introduction of a wider variety of financial products, including over-the-counter derivatives, and eases restrictions that prevent brokerages, futures traders and asset managers from entering each others’ businesses.

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