Japan's SBI teams up with South Korean peer Kiwoom
The partners eye fintech investment, online banking
TOKYO -- Japan's SBI Holdings and South Korea's Kiwoom Securities will collaborate on financial technology investment and other operations in Asia.
The two leading online brokerages in their respective countries will announce the partnership on Wednesday. Kiwoom began in 2000 as South Korea's first online brokerage, growing into a business overseeing about 2.7 million accounts and 3.7 trillion yen ($32.2 billion) in assets under management. It is among the country's top financial institutions in retail equity trading.
Apart from cooperating in the securities business, SBI and Kiwoom will accelerate investments in financial technology all across Asia. The pair are also looking to develop those services in China and India, where the financial infrastructure is lagging.
SBI has already set up a roughly 30 billion yen fund that backs about 40 startups in Japan and elsewhere. Kiwoom also runs an investment business headquartered in South Korea. The partners will share their data networks to find other investment targets in Asia.
The companies also will embark on a new internet banking operation in light of South Korea's legalization of the business in 2015. SBI is the parent of Japan's largest online bank in terms of deposits. Kiwoom aims to enter the internet banking game as soon as possible by leveraging the partnership with SBI.
In Japan, the competition among online brokerages in the fintech field is heating up. Monex Group holds stakes in more than 10 such companies through an affiliated investment firm. Rakuten Securities and Kabu.com Securities are also stepping up their investments.