South Korea To Ease Hedge Fund Restrictions

Aug 1 2012 | 2:27am ET

South Korea is moving to speed the development of its nascent hedge fund industry.

The country got its first local hedge funds in December, more than two years after it technically legalized the asset class. Currently, there are 19 hedge funds managing 717.9 billion won (US$633 million), but the South Korean Financial Services Commission aims to change that.

Under current laws, only the largest asset managers and brokerages are allowed to get into the hedge fund business: The former require 10 trillion won in assets under management and latter 1 trillion won in equity capital. But under new regulations set to take effect in November, brokerages with as little as 500 billion won in capital and money managers with at least 1 trillion won in assets will be permitted to launch hedge funds, YongHap News Agency reports.

The FSC hopes that a proliferation of hedge funds in South Korea will provide liquidity to its local markets.

The Korea Capital Market Institute estimates that the country's hedge fund industry could be managing as much as 24 trillion won within four years, more than 30 times the amount it currently manages.

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