South Korea Moves To Speed Launch Of Hedge Funds

May 23 2011 | 2:24pm ET

South Korea’s market regulator, the Financial Services Commission, wants to speed reforms that will allow the launch of the country’s first hedge fund this year.

Korea’s JoongAng Daily says an FSC official has confirmed the plan, which will see the regulator submitting revisions to the capital market law to the National Assembly in July or August.

Rather than rewriting the law, says the daily, the FSC will seek an amendment to the law’s enforcement decree, which could take two to three months.

The change is expected to allow hedge funds to borrow up to 400% of their assets and bet on financial derivatives.

The daily says the proposal has been greeted with enthusiasm by local brokerages, asset managers and consulting firms and that an estimated 20 to 40 institutional investors will qualify to enter the local hedge fund market.

Retail investors with a minimum of 1 billion wong ($912,000) are also expected to be granted access to hedge funds.

“It would be too much to open the door to the hedge fund market to all retail investors,” an unnamed senior financial official told the daily.

“In the case of retail investors, only those with the ability to invest a certain amount of money and some experience will be allowed.

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