South Korea

Updated as at June 7, 2021


Market Statistics

CurrencyKorean Won (KRW)
Time ZoneGMT +8
The Korea Exchange

  Market Capitalisation

USD 1.14 trillion (KRW 1,390 trillion)
(Equities, March 2020)

  Number of Listed Issues

2,204 (2,186 domestic, 18 foreign)
(March 2020)

  Average Daily Share Volume

-

  Average Daily Trade Value

Equities: USD 253.2 billion (KRW 305.67 trillion)
(Monthly average, Jan-Mar 2020)

Bonds: USD 138 billion (KRW 166 trillion)
(Average monthly, January - March 2020)

 

 

Market Infrastructure

Exchange(s)

The Korea Exchange 
The former Korea Stock Exchange (KSE) was founded in 1956 and governed by the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act under the supervision of the Financial Supervisory Commission. Following the enactment of a new legal framework in 2004, the KSE, the Korea Securities Dealers Automated Quotations Market (KOSDAQ) and the Korea Futures Exchange were consolidated into a single exchange called the Korea Exchange (KRX) on January 27, 2005.

The KRX, the sole exchange in South Korea, is governed under the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act and is made up of the following divisions:

KRX KOSPI Market
KRX KOSPI Market mainly focuses on creating the sound financial market and helping raise necessary capital for the corporate sector. The division deals with stock listings and transactions, provides market data and modifies related rules and regulations or develops new products if necessary. 

KRX KOSDAQ Market
KRX KOSDAQ Market engages in fund-raising for high value-added industries and venture companies, and its main responsibilities are similar to those of KRX KOSPI Market. It has simpler listing rules compared to the KRX KOSPI Market in order for growth companies list on the KOSDAQ Market. 

KRX Derivatives Market
KRX Derivatives Market is in charge of eliminating pricing variables to the spot market. Diverse option products such as Interest futures, Currency Futures, Stock-related Futures and other general futures are traded through the division.

KRX Commodities Market
KRX Commodities Market consists of the petroleum, gold and emissions trading markets, which are in response to the government’s policies for oil price stabilization, legalization of gold trading and low-carbon green growth. Currently, gasoline, diesel oil, kerosene, gold and emissions permit are being traded in the market.

KRX KONEX Market
KONEX (Korea New Exchange) is a new market established in 2013 for small- and medium-sized enterprises exclusively in order to form the basis of creative economy by reinforcing support through the capital market for SMEs at the early stage.

Trading System

KRX KOSPI/KOSDAQ Market 
All orders are transmitted from the brokers’ customer accounts to the KRX trading system through the screen-based trading system. For the majority of stocks, trading is fully automated through the Stock Market Automated Trading System (SMATS).

For interpreting further explanations or regulations given by KRX, please note: KRX differentiates ‘Orders’ given by the customer and ‘Quotes’ from the brokers. So if the client orders then the broker delivers the orders by transmitting the quotes to the KRX system.

The KRX is a typical order-driven market where buy and sell orders compete for the best price.

Throughout the trading hours, orders are continuously matched at the prices satisfactory to both trading parties according to price, time, and size priorities in sequence. The opening and closing prices, however, are determined by call auction. At the market opening and closing, orders received over a fixed period are pooled and matched at which the most number of shares can be executed. These rules are the most basic principle of 3 equity markets of KRX.

KRX KONEX Market
KONEX Market considering the unique characteristics as a market for professional investors - limited liquidity and the various types of listings such as listing via public offering, private placement, or listing without a public offering, the trading system of the KONEX market was designed to reflect such features. The one-sided auction and mandatory liquidity provider system are some of them while LPs of KOSPI or KOSDAQ Market are less mandatory than that of KONEX Market. In addition, as a market geared for long-term ‘buy and hold’ investment on growth prospects of start-ups, with a limited number of listed companies, the KONEX market has simple trading scheme.

The KONEX major trading arrangements including trading hours, market holidays, trading halts, trading methods, single price call auction and continuous trading at multiple prices, restrictions on short-selling, clearing and settlement, are same as KOSPI and KOSDAQ Market, and good faith deposit are the same as the KOSDAQ market.

K-OTC
The Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board Market (OTC-BB Market) was established on March 27, 2000 for securities that are not listed both on the KRX and the KOSDAQ. On July 4, 2005, the OTC-BB has been renamed as the "Freeboard Market". On August 25, 2015, the “Freeboard Market” was overhauled and renamed as “K-OTC”, an exchange for the transparent trading of unlisted stocks.

The K-OTC is split into three divisions: the K-OTC Market, a market that facilitates transactions for unlisted corporations which submit annual reports or meet KOFIA’s disclosure requirements; the K-OTCBB (Bulletin Board), a trading platform for all types of unlisted stocks regardless of the company’s compliance with disclosure requirements, which opened in March 2015; and the K-OTC PRO, a trading system for equity securities issued by unlisted corporations, which opened in July 2017.

Other differentiating features are that the price fluctuation limit is inb K-OTC 30%, and capital gains tax is applied on the sales proceeds. Settlement, however, remains the same on T+2 with the Settlement agency being the KSD.

Dark Pool Trading
The Dark Pooling Trading System allows investors to trade large volumes of more than KRW 500 million in the stock market division and KRW 200 million on the KOSDAQ division without others being aware of their trading information.

Trading Hours

Monday to Friday:

KOSPI/KOSDAQ Equity Market

08:00 - 09:00* (Pre-hours session)

(*Trading hours for pre-hours competitive block trading is 08:00-09:00 and the one for closing price trading is 08:30-08:40)
09:00 - 15:30 (Regular trading session)
15:40 - 18:00* (After-hours session)

  (*Closing price trading is 15:40~16:00 and the off-hours single price auction trading is 16:00~18:00, block trading and basket trading are 15:40~18:00)

 

  (*Closing price trading is 15:40~16:00 and the off-hours single price auction trading is 16:00~18:00, block trading and basket trading are 15:40~18:00)

 

KONEX Market    

08:00 - 09:00 (Pre-hours session)

09:00 – 15:30 (Regular trading session)

15:40 – 18:00* (After-hours session)

(*Closing price trading is 15:40~16:00,  the off-hours single price auction trading is 16:00~18:00 , block trading and basket trading are 15:40~18:00)


KRX Derivatives Market: 

Varies, depending on the product but it is 09:00 - 15:45 (Regular session) for index related futures and options, and it is between 09:00 - 15:20 for the Last Trading Day for index related futures and options.

Security Identifiers

ISIN (International Securities Identification Numbering): Yes

Other: A six-digit short code

Regulatory Bodies

The Ministry of Economy and Finance: The Ministry of Finance and Economy and Ministry of Planning and Budget were consolidated into the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and later renamed its English name to Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Ministry of Economy and Finance is responsible for foreign exchange and taxation policies in Korea.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC): The Financial Services Commission (FSC) was established on February 29, 2008, replacing the previous Financial Supervisory Commission that was established on April 1, 1998. The new FSC assumes all the roles of its predecessor and also undertook some of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Economy and Finance including policy-making and enactment of rules related to the financial markets. The FSC acts as a financial supervisor for securities, banking, insurance and credit management funds. The FSC and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) together regulate all financial institutions in Korea. The FSC is responsible for the implementation and amendment of supervisory rules, the licensing of business activities and the operation of financial institutions. Besides conducting inspections of, and imposing sanctions on, all financial institutions, it also supervises and monitors the securities and futures markets.

The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS): the FSC's executive arm was established in January 1999 as a consolidated supervisory body of four pre-existing supervisors. The main objectives of the FSS are to ensure sound and fair practice in the financial markets and to protect depositors and investors. It divides its responsibilities between regulatory and inspection functions. The FSS is a special legal entity with no capital basis.

The Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA): A non-profit special legal entity which is a self-regulatory membership organisation established under the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act of 2009. It is responsible for maintaining fair trading practices among members and protecting investors. It also conducts regulatory supervision on securities professionals and employees of securities companies.

The Korea Exchange (KRX): The KRX, launched as a market operator and self-regulatory organisation on January 19, 2005, is responsible for the consolidated operation of the KRX KOSPI Market, KRX KOSDAQ Market, and KRX Derivatives Market. The KRX is a dematerialised and consolidated exchange, in which the general meeting of shareholders is the highest decision-making body.

Bank of Korea (BOK): Bank of Korea (BOK) is the Central Bank of Korea. It was established on June 12, 1950 under the Bank of Korea Act. The primary purpose of the Bank, as prescribed by the Act, is the pursuit of price stability. The Bank sets a price stability target every year in consultation with the Government and draws up and publishes an operational plan. The Bank performs the typical functions of a central bank, issuing banknotes and coins, formulating and implementing monetary and credit policy, serving as the bankers' bank and the government's bank. In addition, the Bank of Korea undertakes the operation and management of payment/settlement systems, and manages the nation's foreign exchange reserves. It also exercises certain bank supervisory functions stipulated in the Bank of Korea Act.

Instruments

Equities:

Common stock, preferred stock, warrants, subscription right certificates, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Equity Linked Funds, mutual funds.

Debt:

Government bonds, municipal bonds, special public bonds, financial bonds, corporate debentures, repurchase agreements (repos), convertible bonds, exchangeable bonds, bonds with warrants, etc.

Money Market:

Beneficial certificates, treasury bills, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, money market instruments.

Others:

Index futures and options, USD futures/options, CD futures, Korea Treasury Bond futures, Gold futures, individual stock options, oil futures.

Form of Securities

Under the Regulations on Financial Investment Business, all Korea Securities Depository (KSD) eligible securities acquired by foreign investors must be deposited with the KSD, the central securities depository in Korea, via a KSD participant. A KSD participant is an agent who has an account at the KSD for the purpose of deposit, withdrawal and book-entry transfer of securities. 
KSD-eligible instruments are:

  • Listed securities and collective investment securities
  • Listed bonds and non-listed bonds issued in a series of listed bonds but with different date of sales
  • Bonds which registrar is KSD or BOK
  • Shareholder certificates issued by the exercise of rights on deposited securities, subscription rights and warrants
  • Commercial papers (CP) and certificates of deposit (CD)

Securitized derivatives, etc. which are recognized of the necessity by KSD. The above securities are registered in the KSD's name as nominee.

Effective September 16, 2019, securities such as listed securities and collective investment securities are subject to compulsory application to electronic securities. The securities will be automatically converted to electronic securities. It is not compulsory for unlisted securities to be converted to electronic securities. The conversion of unlisted securities to electronic securities depends on the application of the issuing company.

Board Lots

(Trading Units)

Equities: KRX KOSPI Market: 1 shares/units 

Debt:
Bonds (general):Par value of KRW 10,000 / Trading unit is KRW1,000
Bonds denominated in foreign currency: 10,000 points
Treasury bonds: Par value of KRW 10,000 / Trading unit is 1 billion

Price Variations

Daily price limit:
In Korea, there is no price variation. Instead, a “daily price fluctuation limit” exists in the KRX KOSPI Market and the KRX KOSDAQ Market of the KRX. Price change limit in the KRX Markets is +/- 30% of the previous day's closing price and trades must be priced within this range. KONEX Market has daily price limit of +/-15% of the previous day’s closing price.

Circuit Breakers:
The 3 phases of circuit breakers in the KOSPI and the KOSDAQ market are below:

  • 1st: If the index decreases by 8% or more from the previous day's closing price for one minute, the trading will be suspended for 20 minutes. Only the cancellations of orders submitted prior to the suspension are permitted.
  • 2nd: If the index decreases by 15% or more from the previous day's closing price for one minute and the index decreases by an additional 1% from the time the first set of circuit breaker is exercised. The trading will be suspended for 20 minutes. Only the cancellations of orders submitted prior to the suspension are permitted.
  • 3rd: If the index decreases by 20% or more from the previous day's closing price for one minute and the index decreases by an additional 1% from the time the second set of circuit breaker is exercised. The trading will be suspended for the remainder of the day with no off-market trading. All trading is prohibited.

Volatility Interruption:
When the price changes by 10% or more from the previous single price execution (static VI), or the newly executed price is +/-3~6%* than the previously latest executed price (dynamic VI), a two-minute cooling period will be triggered.

* Percentage differs depending on its market or the trading hours.

Settlement & Registration

Settlement Cycles

Market:

T+2 for equities, T+0 for bonds

OTC:

In case of equity trade via OTC market (i.e. outside the exchange market), the cycle can be negotiable between the buyer and seller between T+1 upto T+30. 

In case of bond trade settlement via the OTC market (i.e. outside the exchange market), the cycle can be negotiable between the buyer and seller between T+1 upto T+30. 

Money Market:

negotiable

Bond transactions traded in the Government Bonds Inter-Dealer Market (IDM) will settle the following day when the Bond settlement date falls on one of the Bank of Korea's (BOK) reserve dates, which are the second week’s Wednesday of each month.

Over-the-Counter (OTC)

By regulation foreign investors are required to trade listed stocks through the KRX except in cases such as direct investment, exercise of overseas securities, odd-lot trading, and trading of stocks which foreign ownership limits have been reached.

Bond trades executed in the OTC market are required to settle in principle on a simultaneous delivery of securities versus cash payment (DVP). The KSD's institutional settlement system (INSET) facilitates true DVP in the market.

Settlement Procedures

Book-Entry:
A final clearing report is prepared by the KRX and sent to the INSET system of the KSD by 10:30 on T+1, after market close and then pre-matching starts. Settlements are completed on a net basis between securities companies and local custodians via INSET system of the KSD. Securities are transferred by book-entry within KSD and funds are transferred through BOK-Wire or accounts at KSD's correspondent bank on T+2.

On receiving clearing data, the KSD checks the balance of deposited securities of each selling member and receives additional securities to make up for any shortage. The KSD then completes the delivery of securities through book entry by debiting from a net-selling member’s account and crediting to a net-buying member’s account. 

At present, the settlement of trades in the Korean Stock Markets occurs on a rolling T+2 cycle. Settlement of securities is carried out on T+2 by exchanging shares through the Korea Securities Depository (KSD) in exchange for funds, usually affected using Bank of Korea (BOK) wire. The settlement of bonds occurs on T or T+1 for trades via the Stock Exchange. Settlement of OTC trades is effected by negotiation between the two contracting parties.

Settlement through INSET (Institutional Settlement System)

Please refer to the below diagram for general settlement procedure in the Korean market.

1. ID Card holder/investor executes trade with broker.
2. Broker sends trade confirmation to investor and sends trade details to KSD electronically. 
3. Investor advises custodian of the trade.
4. Custodian confirms trade to local (sub)custodian and sends settlement instruction. This occurs either on trade date (TD) or on TD+1. Instruction from custodian will include instructions to book an FX (if applicable). Local custodian matches instruction details with KSD.
5. Local custodian confirms settlement through KSD terminal.
6. Local custodian books FX in KRW after confirming trade details through KSD terminal by 10:00 on settlement date (SD). If TD+2 is a holiday in the foreign currency, the FX must be booked for value TD+1 for RVP and T+3 for DVP.
7. FX confirmation by SWIFT / email / fax on date of execution.
8. Broker / local custodian authorise KSD to withdraw securities/cash for net amount.
9. Local custodian checks that securities/cash have been credited to their account.
10. Local custodian sends out settlement confirmation (FX details may be included) to custodian.
11. Custodian instructs payment of purchase amount in USD/FCY to local custodian's correspondent bank or local custodian instructs correspondent bank to pay USD/FCY to custodian.

Partial Settlement for Listed Equities

Effective June 10, 2021, partial settlement will be automatically initiated for eligible equity transaction without counterparties' consent. The key points of the partial settlement are as follows:

  • Eligible investors: Institutional investors, except for local asset management companies 
  • Eligible securities: Listed securities, except for fixed income 
  • Eligible transactions: A transaction with a contract amount of KRW 10 billion or more (before brokerage commission and securities transaction taxes)
  • Split unit:

-  Settlement amount: Split per every KRW 10 billion

-  Number of shares: Split by calculation formula: (KRW 10 billion / Total contract amount) x Total number of shares

In case market compulsory fail occurs at the final stage of partial settlement, it is only considered as a partial failure, i.e., the partially settled portion will remain valid and not be cancelled or considered to be failed.

Short Selling

According to Article 180-1 of the Capital Market and Financial Investment Business Act (hereinafter known as ‘the Act’), the following shall not be permitted unless covered by a number of specific exceptions prescribed under Article 180-2 of the Act.

- a sale of “securities” not in ownership
- a sale of “securities” that will be settled by borrowed securities

The term “securities” shall mean convertible bonds, bonds with warrants, participating bonds, or exchangeable bonds, equity securities, beneficiary certificates (commonly known as unit trust), derivatives and depository receipts. (Subparagraphs 1 through 4 of Article 208-1 of the Presidential Decree)

According to Article 180-2 of the Act, exceptional cases are as follows:

- Where the securities sold are less than or equal to the securities available from a purchase transaction with the same (or earlier) settlement date
- Where the settlement of the sale will be covered by stocks acquired from the exercise of rights on convertible bonds, exchangeable bonds, bonds with warrants, etc. or through rights offering, bonus issue, stock dividends, etc.
- In case where there is no possibility of failing of settlement as prescribed under Article 208-3 of the Presidential Decree of the Act.

Effective 30 August 2012, investor with short-sale position equal to or over 0.5 percent of the outstanding listed shares (including preferred shares if any) will be required to make a public disclosure via Exchange. In case the value of the short sale position is over KRW 1Billion, the short-sale position reporting will be required regardless of the short-sale position ratio., will be required to make a public disclosure. Subsequent reporting must be submitted on a daily basis should the threshold continue to be more than 0.01 per cent of the outstanding shares.

Short Selling Breaches

  • An investor, who has consented not to submit orders for covered short selling, but has conducted a naked short sell, then the relevant broker is required to verify for the following period whether the investor’s order is indeed for covered short selling and confirm settlement can be fulfilled within 120 days  from the following day when short sell is recognised.
  • In the previous six-month period, an investor sold the securities not in possession, and the naked short selling is recognized by KRX or local broker, the relevant broker is required to request pre-delivery of the securities when receiving orders for covered short selling from the concerned investor up to 120 days

FSC decided to apply a temporary ban on short-selling of all listed stocks in the KOSPI, KOSDAQ and KONEX markets until May 2, 2021. From May 3, 2021, short-selling will be allowed only for large-cap stocks that make up KOSPI200 and KOSDAQ150 indices.

Turn-around Trades

Same day turnaround transactions, also known as “day trading,” is permitted in Korea for same day value under the same IRC holder as long as the sale is made after the purchase of the stock and the number of the shares sold is within the purchased amount.

It is also possible to place a sell order first in cases where the IRC is in possession of the stock or settlement is guaranteed on settlement date due to reasons such as receipt of borrowed stock, etc. Same day turnaround trades are allowed for shares listed on the KRX KOSPI and KRX KOSDAQ markets of the Korea Exchange (KRX).

The settlement cycle is the same as normal trades (T+2) as long as the trades are under the same ID card and same value date.

Clearing Agents

Korea Securities Depository (KSD)
The KSD was established in 1974 to act as a central depository, clearing agent and transfer agent for listed companies in Korea. The KSD is a non-profit special public organisation subject to a wide range of controls and supervision from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Financial Supervisory Service.

As at end of December 2019, there are 1,262 participants with the KSD. Eligible participants include securities companies, banks, insurance companies, securities related organisations, institutional investors, foreign equivalents to the KSD and other organisations deemed appropriate by the KSD.

Depositories

Korea Securities Depository (KSD)

According to the Regulation of the Financial Services Commission, all KSD eligible securities acquired by foreign investors must be deposited in scripless form with the Korea Securities Depository, the central securities depository in Korea, via a KSD participant.

KSD-eligible instruments include: 

  • Securities listed on the KRX KOSPI Market Division of the Korea Exchange
  • Securities listed on the KRX KOSDAQ Market Division of the Korea Exchange
  • Shares issued for paid-in capital increase by a listed or registered companies
  • Non-listed bonds issued and a series of listed bond
  • Notes
  • Beneficiary Certificates for Development Trusts
  • Other instruments deemed appropriate by the KSD (i.e. rights certificates, CD, CP)

Foreign investors are required by law to safekeep and settle all eligible securities through the KSD.  100% of listed equity and bonds lodged in the KSD are held in dematerialised form in line with the introduction of electronic securities in Sep 2019.

Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Settlement Model

BIS is an international organisation which fosters cooperation among central banks and other agencies in pursuit of monetary and financial stability. The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI)uses three common structural approaches, or models, to categorise the links between delivery and payment in a securities settlement system.

The KSD’s DVP System operates based on BIS Model 2 for equities – systems that settle securities transfer instructions on a gross basis with final transfer of securities from the seller to the buyer (delivery) occurring throughout the processing cycle, but settle funds transfer instructions on a net basis, with final transfer of funds from the buyer to the seller (payment) occurring at the end of the processing cycle..

For Bonds, it is based on BIS Model 1, - systems that settle transfer instructions for both securities and funds on a trade-by-trade (gross) basis, with final (unconditional) transfer of securities from the seller to the buyer (delivery) occurring at the same time as final transfer of funds from the buyer to the seller (payment).

Registration Process

Book-Entry: Shareholder rights on securities are protected based on settled positions. On settlement date, shares deposited with the KSD are transferred by book-entry. Book-entry shares are registered in KSD's nominee name. 

The KSD acts as the paying agent for income both in the form of cash and securities, and is authorised to exercise voting rights upon instructions from beneficial owners (BOs). Shares held in the KSD are registered in the name of the KSD as nominee. At record dates, KSD's participants provide the depository with a list of beneficial owners (BO), which is passed to the issuing company in order for them to update the BOs' register list.

Physical: Physical registration is processed by one of three Korean transfer agents and the turnaround time is one to two days.

Endorsement by the seller is not required with securities registered in the beneficial owner's name.

Note: The Korean stock market is scripless. Trade settlement is done via the Korea Securities Depository (KSD) via KSD's on-line system. Upon settlement, shares are automatically registered in the name of the KSD as the nominee. All listed and unlisted securities in scripless form that are owned by foreign investors are required by regulation to be kept at the central depository (i.e. The KSD). Thus, there is no registration process required for scripless securities deposited with the KSD. 

Only unlisted securities that are not eligible for deposit in the KSD (i.e. not available in scripless form) owned by foreign investors can be issued in physical form. Generally, re-registration of unlisted physical securities is undertaken by the broker or the client's legal agent such that these are registered in the beneficial owner's name upon settlement. As such, registration of listed securities is not a regular feature of the Korean market.

Registrar

There are three official registrars - the Korea Securities Depository (KSD), Hana Bank and Kookmin Bank. Shares may be physically withdrawn in Korea, in which case they must be registered by the registrar under the investor's own name. However, foreign investors are required to keep their shares in the KSD in book-entry form and are not permitted to withdraw them in physical form.

Registration Period

In case of registration of scriptless stocks, registration occurs immediately upon settlement via INSET system of KSD.

In case the physical stock has its registrar designated to either of these three registrars (KSD, Hana Bank and Kookmin Bank), then it takes about one business day to register on the “shareholder’s book” or on the “bondholder’s book.” The decisive date for the change of ownership for physical securities held by foreign investors is bestowed on the date when the holder of the securities makes a “name transfer” on the“shareholder’s book” or “bondholder’s book.”

Shares certificates are settled physically. There is no specific settlements system or any systematic mechanism that mediates such physical transaction. The transaction is performed via an agreement between the seller and buyer outside the Exchange market. In general, on settlement date, cash is paid to the seller and the buyer will receive the share certificates who will then arrange the “name transfer” and register the shareholder’s name on the shareholder’s list or bondholder’s list on or before settlement date.

Risk

Disclosure Requirements

Share holdings may be required to be disclosed by the beneficial owner, particularly when holdings reach or exceed prescribed disclosure limits. Investors must ensure that they comply in full by reporting such holdings to the appropriate organisations for this market, within the timeframe required. If you have any questions regarding this issue we encourage you to consult your legal counsel. 

Failure to comply with reporting requirements may lead to penalties and/or other sanctions.

The 5% Disclosure Report (The substantial Shareholder Disclosure Report)
The Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act requires beneficial owners (the definition of which extends to include 'related' entities or persons) to file a report with the Korea Exchange (KRX) and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) once their holdings of the voting shares of a company listed on the KRX reach 5%. Additional filings are required for any movement of plus or minus 1%. 

The definition of 'related' entities, in the case of a corporation, would include:

  • officers of the company
  • affiliated companies, and
  • officers of affiliated companies.

Usually an affiliated company is one in which the major shareholders have a 30% or greater shareholding (i.e. sister, parent, or subsidiary companies). However, irrespective of the level of shareholding, if one company has 'de facto' control over another, the two entities may be deemed to be related.

Notwithstanding the fact that entities may be related, if it can be demonstrated that related parties purchasing shares are not acting in concert, disclosure may not be necessary. However, the burden of proof is on the investing parties.

Case / Category

Requirement

Securities that are subject to 5% reporting

Securities subject to the current 5% regulation are as follows:


1. Stock certificates (common stocks, preferred stocks with voting rights, stocks with conversion option to voting stocks after a certain period)
2. Stock warrants
3. Convertible bonds
4. Bonds with warrants
5. Exchangeable bonds
6. Depository receipts related to the acquisition of stock certificates (common stocks, preferred stocks with voting rights, stocks with conversion option to voting stocks after a certain period), stock warrants, convertible bonds, bond with warrants, exchangeable bonds
7. Derivative products related to the acquisition of stock certificates (common stocks, preferred stocks with voting rights, stocks with conversion option to voting stocks after a certain period), stock warrants, convertible bonds, bond with warrants, exchangeable bonds

Where a shareholder initially reaches 5% threshold for any purpose

To file the 5% report within five business days from the exchange trade date.

Where there is a subsequent change of 1% or more, for the purpose to gain management control of the company

To file the 5% report within five business days from the exchange trade date.

Where there is a subsequent change of 1% or more for the purpose of simple portfolio investment

To file the 5% report by 10th calendar day of the following month.

Where there is a subsequent change of 1% or more for the purpose of general investment

To file the 5% report by 10th business day from the exchange trade date

Case subject to reporting for change

1) Where there is change in investment purpose (e.g from simple portfolio investment to gain management control or vice versa).



Below are only applicable where the investment purpose is for management control:

2) Where the shareholder becomes contractually obligated for transactions such as lending and borrowing or collateral delivery.

3) Where the type of holding has changed (e.g. from ‘ownership’ to ‘holding with a claim for delivery’ for lending case).

Cooling off period

The 'cooling period' will be from the trade date (i.e. the first date there is obligation to file the report), until five business days from the report date (i.e. the date the 5% disclosure report is submitted), excluding the report date.

Submission of the report

The 5% report must be filed with the Financial Services Commission and the Korea Exchange. In addition a copy of the 5% report must also be submitted to the issuing company. This will be applicable only where the reporting obligation occurs on or after February 4, 2009.


The 10% Disclosure Report
Once holdings reach 10%, the beneficial owner as a major shareholder must file a report to the KRX and FSS and all subsequent acquisitions and disposals of any size (even one share) must be reported to the KRX and FSS. 

Effective August 29, 2013, directors or substantial shareholders will no longer be required to submit a 10% discount report if the change in holdings is less than 1,000 shares and the trade amount is less than KRW 10 million.

Case / Category

New requirement

Securities that are subject to 10% reporting

According to Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act, the scope of securities subject to 10% reporting is “ specific securities.” The definition of “specific securities” is defined under Article 172-1 as follows:

  1. Securities issued by the corporation (excluding securities specified by Presidential Decree) or;
  2. Securities depositary receipts related to the securities under subparagraph 1 or;
  3. Exchangeable bonds issued by any person other than the corporation, which are exchangeable with the securities under subparagraph 1 or 2; or
  4. Financial investment instruments based on an underlying asset composed only of the securities under subparagraphs 1 through 3.


Under Clause 1 of definition of “specific securities”, the excluding securities are as follows:

  1. Debt Securities. However, the following debt securities are to be included in the scope of securities for the purpose of filing the 10% report;
    (a) Convertible bonds;
    (b) Bonds with warrants;
    (c) Participating bonds; or
    (d) Equity securities (including securities deposit receipts related thereto) issued by the corporation or exchangeable bonds which are entitled to claim the exchange with the securities (including securities deposit receipts related thereto) under items (a) through (c);
  2. Beneficiary Certificates
  3. Derivatives-linked Securities. However, derivatives-linked securities based on an underlying asset composed only of securities shall be included in the scope of securities for the purpose of filing the 10% report.

Where a shareholder initially reaches the 10% threshold

To file the 10% report within five business days after settlement date.

Where there is a subsequent change

To file the 10% report within five business days after settlement date.


Under Article 150 of the Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act, in case a person fails to submit a 5% disclosure report or submits an insincere/false report or neglects to report important facts in the 5% disclosure report, then such person will be restricted from exercising their voting rights with respect to the ownership of equity securities exceeding 5% and the FSC may issue an order to sell/dispose the shares within six months on those ownership of equity securities exceeding 5%.

Under Article 151 the FSS may issue an administrative order to provide relevant information/data for their investigation. In addition, in case a person fails to submit a 5% disclosure report or submits an insincere/false report or neglects to report important facts the FSC may issue an order to submit an correction report or if necessary, the FSC may issue an order to suspend trading activities of the shareholder or issue the following administrative orders:
a) to recommend the dismissal of officers
b) to refer the matter to the prosecutor’s office
c) issuance of a warning letter or letter of caution.

According to Article 445 in case the matter is referred to the prosecutor’s office, violation of the 5% disclosure report shall be subject to maximum three years of imprisonment or a penalty of maximum 100 million won. However, in case the person has submitted an insincere/false report or neglects to report important facts in the 5% disclosure report, then such person shall be subject to a maximum of five years of imprisonment or a penalty of maximum 200 million won.

Effective February 1, 2020, if the shareholding purpose is not to exercise influence over the company's management, the shareholder will submit the substantial disclosure report for the purposes of simple portfolio investment / simple report. This simple report is further subdivided into 'simple investment' and 'general investment'. Simple investment is when the shareholders exercise the rights entitled by the law, regardless of shareholding ratio. A shareholder may file the report by the tenth of the following month. General investment is when the shareholders proactively engage in shareholder activities, such as the improvement of dividend policy and the enhancement of director’s qualification, rather than shareholding activities for simple investment. A shareholder may file the report by the tenth of trade date.

Buy-Ins

There are two types of settlements in Korea, namely, “Market Settlement” (Settlement between Exchange and Brokers) and “Institutional Settlement” (Settlement between Brokers and Custodians)

In case of market settlement, effective from January 16, 2012, securities trades executed on the Korea Exchange (“KRX”) will be cleared among the KRX members as per the following revised scheme. Continuous Net Settlement (“CNS”) was introduced for the equity clearing and settlement between KRX and its members (brokers) in Jan 2012. With new introduction of CNS, failed settlement position in equities  can be rolled-over for the next day settlement and Securities Delivery Bill for equitieswas eliminated in line with introduction of CNS.   The KRX members can still issue so called Securities Delivery Bill for a fixed income as a last resort.   

BUY-IN Procedures (Market Settlement)
In case where the failure of securities delivery persists, the KRX purchases the required quantity of concerned securities and delivers them to the member to whom they are due.

  • Regular Buy-in: In case that a trade keeps failing by SD+2, the KRX itself shall initiate a buy-in trade between 15:35 and 15:45 on SD+2 and close the pending open position.
  • Same day Buy-in: In case that a trade fails on the SD which falls on the record date of a corporate action entitlement, the KRX shall initiate a buy-in trade between 17:50 and 18:00 on SD in order to avoid settlement failure.


The KRX’s buy-in trade will be settled with the T+0 settlement cycle

Quotation price scope: Price quoted for a buy-in trade is limited to plus/minus 30% of the day's closing price. The buy-in price will be determined based on competitive auction principles where all interested sellers in the market can put a bid in the system via their local brokers, and at a given time, the trading system will match against the lowest offered price.

KRX will levy penalty amount to the securities broker who failed the trade. This will be calculated as follows:

Penalty amount :Max [(SD closing price of failed securities x quantity x penalty rate), KRW10,000}, Penalty rate is 0.2% (1% on record date of a listed stock)

BUY-IN Procedures (Institutional Settlement)
In regard to the above Market Settlement BUY-IN procedure, in case that a trade keeps failing by SD+2, the selling broker may pass on the charges to the customers due from the buy-in process. Furthermore, it will be at the discretionary of the broker to process any BUY-IN procedures for the underlying client’s failing trade as per their internal procedures

SELL-OUT Procedures (Institutional Settlement)
If a purchase trade does not settle by SD, it is possible to hold the trade until SD+1 if the client is a foreign investor. If it has still not settled by SD+1, and a foreign investor has not delivered the cash amount to the broker to cover the buy trade by settlement date plus one business day (SD+1), the broker must sell the shares at the beginning of the day on SD+2 at the lowest selling price, with any loss on the sale borne by the investor, and cover the buy trade. This is called the "Sell-out" procedure.
“Sell-out” or “reverse transaction” occurs when investors do not deliver the cash amount to cover the buy trade on settlement date. The “Sell-out” procedure is stipulated under Article 4-29 of the “Regulation on the Supervision of Securities Businesses.”

However, in cases where a foreign investor does not deliver the cash amount to the broker to cover the buy trade by settlement date plus one business day (SD+1), and this impediment is due to reasons predetermined by securities companies, such as discrepancy in settlement instruction, etc., then the broker shall be able to process the non-payment on SD+2 in accordance to internal rules set by the securities company. In such case, brokers may not perform a mandatory sell-out on SD+2 if the settlement failure is due to reasons predetermined by securities companies. Examples of the reasons may be: Non-receipt of settlement instruction, Non-receipt of foreign exchange instruction, Discrepancy in the settlement instruction, Public holiday where the foreign investor resides, etc. These reasons shall be pre-determined by securities companies and they may be different from one broker to another broker.

However, if the settlement failure is due to other reasons not predetermined by the broker, if the purchase trade is not settled by SD+1, the broker must sell the shares in the market at the lowest available price on SD+2 between 08:00am – 09:00am during the call trading session.

If the shares are not sold on SD+2 due to an illiquid market, the broker will then sell the shares at the lowest available price in the market on SD+3, the following business day. The broker will also charge the investor a one day interest charge. If the shares are still not sold on SD+3, the broker will then try to sell on the next available business day and so on until the shares can be sold. (Brokers will charge interest fees for each and every day.)

The “sell-out” is executed by brokers in the morning of SD+2 during the morning call trading session (between 08:00 – 09:00). The “sell-out” is not performed by the Exchange.

Any settlement failure charges can be passed onto the investor at the broker's discretionary.

Securities Lending

Foreign investors may participate in securities borrowing/lending transactions using the KSD, Korea Securities Finance Corp (KSFC), or a securities company as the intermediary. 

Under the Foreign Exchange Transactions Regulation, foreign investors have to submit a one-off report to the Bank of Korea (BOK) for the initial borrowing over KRW30 billion worth of securities from residents within three business days from the date it exceeded the limit (inclusive).

For any subsequent changes in borrowing over KRW30 billion worth of securities from local residents, foreign investors must submit the report by 10th of the following month to the BOK.

Foreign investors are allowed to use foreign securities (T-Bills, T-Notes, T-Bonds) and foreign currency (US dollars) as collateral when borrowing Korean securities. This became effective May 2008.

There are no Korean won (KRW) amount limits if the stock lending and borrowing is between non-residents and also if the stock lender is a non-resident whereas the borrower is a resident.

Foreign investors are required to open dedicated stock lending and borrowing accounts at the KSD, KSFC or securities companies in the same name that is inscribed in the IRC and place cash collateral or securities collateral to support the transaction.

Both the lender and the borrower can request for return of securities at any time before the maturity date.

All KSD SLB transaction type other than settlement coverage transaction, the loan period is mutually agreed one between the lender and borrower (including cases with no fixed date).

Lenders and borrowers are able to change the loan conditions upon mutual agreement without the need to terminate the existing transaction. 

The KSD is able to close the stock lending and borrowing account of an investor if it falls under one of the following default cases:

  • Upon request by the lender, in the case that the borrower does not provide sufficient collateral to meet the minimum hair-cut ratio.
  • The borrower does not return the borrowed securities on or before the contract expiry date.
  • Specific to bonds, if the borrower had agreed with the counterparty lender to return the borrowed bonds in Korean won cash amount instead due to lack of liquidity of the bond, however, the borrower does not return the cash amount to the lender.
  • The borrower had agreed with the counterparty lender to return entitlements (e.g. dividends etc.) to the lender, but the borrower does not return such entitlements to the lender.
  • The borrower does not pay the loan fees to the lender on or before the fee payment date.

The KSD is allowed to cancel a loan contract under the condition that the cancellation is performed on the same day of the loan execution date and this is requested under an agreement between the lender and the borrower.

If the borrowed security is delisted from the stock exchange, the borrower and the lender can agree to return the original borrowed securities in Korean won cash amount.

In the case of a 'spin-off' where the issuing company is split into multiple new companies, the original loan contract will be terminated on the same day the new shares are listed. In addition, based on the same conditions, the borrower will be required to return the new shares of the newly listed company.

Eligible securities for stock lending and borrowing are:

  • Stocks: all stocks listed on the KRX KOSPI Market and KRX KOSDAQ Market of the KRX.
  • Bonds: all listed bonds listed on the KRX.
  • Exchange Traded Funds.
  • Korean Depository Receipts.

Stocks having foreign ownership limits are only permitted to be traded between foreign investors.

Compensation Fund

Guarantee Fund

The Korea Exchange (KRX) assumes responsibility for the settlement of all securities trades and liability for damages incurred due to any breach of trading contracts by a member. The KRX's JCF is used to make good any damages stemming from unsettled transactions.

Members may be jointly liable for damages.

There are two types of memberships at the KRX, namely, securities trading members and futures trading members. Each type of member is obliged to contribute to the JCF according to its market. That is, securities trading members must contribute to the JCF of stock market and KOSDAQ market divisions, and the futures trading members must contribute to the JCF of the futures market division. This paper will elaborate on the JCF of the stock market and KOSDAQ market divisions of KRX.

According to Article 8 of the members regulations of the KRX (hereafter ‘the regulation’), members of the KRX must contribute and deposit towards the JCF and deposit guarantee fund as outlined in Article 23-1 and Article 31 of the regulation, respectively.

The fund is administered by the KRX and the size of the fund is limited to the maximum reserve of KRW200 billion. When the reserve reaches its maximum limit, the deposit of guarantee is temporarily suspended. When the fund drops due to compensation payments, the guarantee deposits resume until the fund is restored to its maximum limit. If the member's registration is subsequently cancelled, the balance of any unutilised funds will be refunded to the member.

Deposit of Joint Compensation Fund

According to Article 24 of the regulation, securities members must make the following contributions towards the JCF.

  • Basic deposit: KRW 1 billion
  • Variable deposit: Sum of basic deposits and bond-dealer members contributions deducted from the KRW200 billion (maximum limit of JCF) and multiplied by daily average equity trading value of the member against daily average equity trading value of all members ratio 

Purpose of Joint Compensation Fund

According to Article 25 of the regulation, the KRX will use the Entrustment Guarantee Funds, Deposit Guarantee Funds or the deposited JCF of the member responsible for any damages caused by breaching the trading contract. In case this is not enough to cover the damages, the remainder will be covered by JCF of other members according to the pro rata basis proportionate to the amount they have deposited in the JCF. If the amount in the JCF is still insufficient to cover a compensation payment, the KRX makes up for the difference with their Settlement Deposit Fund or its own assets. If a member's registration is cancelled, the KRX will, after deducting any used amount, refund the balance in the JCF deposited by that member.

Guarantee Deposit Fund

According to Article 31 of the regulation, members of KRX must deposit a Guarantee Deposit Fund, which the deposit amount is decided at the Board of Directors with a minimum deposit of KRW 1 million limit. The fund management and administration will be up to the discretion of the KRX as deemed necessary.

Anti-Money Laundering

Investors must comply with "Know your Customer” requirements, which were introduced to meet international standards for the prevention of money laundering and fraudulent acts in the financial markets.

Therefore the following information must be confirmed when investors open new accounts in Korea.

  • Individual: date of birth, address, contact details (telephone number, email address).
  • Corporate/Group: establishment date, type of business/establishment purpose, address, contact details, detail of CEO/representative (e.g. name, date of birth, nationality). 
  • Foreigners: nationality, address in Korea (if applicable).

Investors should ensure that they provide all details required by the regulators in order to ensure prompt account opening.

Foreign Ownership

Market Entrance Requirements

This is a Beneficial Owner market.  Please contact your RBC Investor & Treasury Services' Client Manager before making portfolio investments.

Foreign investors must obtain an Investment Registration Certificate (IRC) by approval of FSS (Financial Supervisory Service) prior to investing in securities at the Korea Exchange (KRX). The IRC contains a unique identification number for the foreign investor, the investor’s name and nationality. The IRC number is used in all trading, settlement, and reporting activities. See “Note on IRCs” below.

The following is required to apply for an IRC:

  • Power of Attorney that is notarised.
  • IRC Application Form which provides a detailed profile of the foreign investor. The IRC application form must be completed and signed by the foreign investor.
  • A document that proves their legal existence within the country issued either by the Government or any other public authority i.e. Certificate of Residence or Certificate of Incorporation etc.
  • Consent Letter signed by the foreign investor
  • Acknowledgment Letter signed by the foreign investor
  • Identification of Beneficial Owner
  • Authenticated instruction for IRC application & account opening

All foreign investors should ensure that the name on the IRC is exactly the same as that which appears on the official document, which is the proof of establishment provided for the IRC application and used in all aspects of trading.

In Korean market, foreign investors should take extreme caution to avoid the duplication of an application for an IRC. The foreign investor should make certain that no other IRC has previously been applied for or obtained with the exact same name and documentation. If, as the result of an oversight on the part of the Financial Supervisory Service, two or more IRCs are granted in the same name, the associated accounts may be frozen or required to sell out of the market and one of the existing IRCs should be cancelled.

Upon obtaining the IRC, foreign investors may open the following accounts at their local custodian bank (FX bank).

  • Korean Won Cash Account opened exclusively for Investment.
  • Foreign Currency Cash Account opened exclusively for Investment.
  • Securities Account opened exclusively for Investment

Holders of equity-linked securities issued by Korean companies in overseas markets (e.g. convertible bonds, bonds with warrants, exchangeable bonds, depository receipts) do not require an ID if the security is to be sold within three months of conversion. Qualified investors can apply directly to the broker for exemption to entrustment deposit requirements. Most Foreign Institutional Investors are exempted from the entrustment deposit requirements; however, a cautious broker may require further information for the credit review. Only a copy of the investor's ID card is required.

Effective January 1, 2016, financial institutions are required to identify the beneficial owner when opening new accounts or making financial transactions. For new IRC application/account opening on or after 1 January 2016, the identification of the beneficial owner is required.

Investment Restrictions

Since May 1998, foreign investors have been allowed to purchase up to 100%, in aggregate or individual, of the shares in any listed company, except for a few industries that are deemed of national importance.

List of Foreign Ownership Limit (FOL) can be retrieved in real time basis via KRX website (http://global.krx.co.kr/contents/GLB/05/0503/0503030500/GLB0503030500.jsp).

Repatriation Policy

The following guidelines apply to Foreign Investors (FIs):

  • Proceeds from the sale of securities can be freely converted and repatriated offshore.
  • Exclusive cash accounts must be opened for securities and futures investment.
  • FIs may deposit payments from fixed income instruments and dividends into their KRW accounts and do not have to repatriate these funds immediately.
  • FIs must go through Foreign Exchange Banks when executing a foreign exchange transaction required for their investment activities in the local securities market.
  • Foreign investors are permitted to purchase the Korean won without any restrictions and credit the resultant Korean won in their Korean won cash accounts for investments. Such Korean won can be used to fund an immediate securities purchase trade or it can be kept as cash balance so that it can be used in funding a purchase trade in the future. In addition, the foreign investor can also convert the Korean won into a foreign currency and repatriate the funds as long as there is no overdraft in the cash accounts.
  • Overdraft in the “Exclusive cash accounts for Investments” is practically not allowed to FIs’ cash accounts opened for investment purposes.

Cash

FX Regulations

Previously foreign investors could only purchase KRW for securities investment only when a “real demand” for the KRW had been established, e.g. once their settlement instructions have been matched with the broker. Effective from December 17, 2007, the restriction was removed, therefore foreign investors are permitted to purchase the Korean won at any time without any underlying securities transaction, and they may choose to fund a securities purchase trade, keep it as cash balance or convert it into a foreign currency and repatriate the funds as long as there is no overdraft in the cash accounts.

Payment Systems

The most commonly used payment system in the market for securities transactions is BOK-Wire. BOK-Wire is owned and operated by the Bank of Korea. It is an online network that connects the BOK with the financial institutions to allow transfer of funds on a real-time gross basis. It provides settlement finality for almost all transactions, from large value foreign exchange transactions of banks to interbank settlement of individuals' small value ATM transactions. 

Overdraft Permitted

Overdrafts are not permitted to foreign investors as stipulated in the regulations. However, the Korean government has amended the Banking Act to allow loans to foreign investors effective from November 18, 2010. However, the sub-acts and regulations related to how this should be guided has not been released yet.

Entitlements

Dividend Process

Stock dividends
Stock dividends are normally announced two weeks before the books close date (which is the issuing company's fiscal year-end and usually falls at the end of a quarter). At this stage the local custodian advises the ratio and current holdings. An advice is then sent out after books close date with final books close holdings.

The stock dividend details are approved at AGM and a final advice is sent upon receipt of the dividend, the exact date of payment of which is often confirmed one or two days before actual payment date.

Dividends may either be issued purely as stock dividends, purely as cash dividends or as a combination of the two. Withholding tax on stock dividends is either deducted from the proceeds of the accompanying cash dividend, if applicable, or the investors may be requested to fund it separately.

Shares pertaining to stock dividends are paid within one month from the AGM.

Cash dividends
Until the end of 1997, listed companies could only pay cash dividends once a year, with the record date set at their fiscal year end. However, following a revision to the commercial code, companies are permitted to pay cash dividends quarterly. Details of dividends are decided at the AGM, or at a board meeting (for interim dividend), after which the local custodian sends an advice of the books close date holding and the proposed ratio of dividend. A final advice is sent upon receipt of the dividend, the exact date of payment of which is often confirmed one or two days before actual pay date.

Upon receipt of dividends, which must be within one month of the company's AGM, the local custodian withholds tax, according to a schedule of applicable double taxation rates by country of domicile provided that relevant tax form is in place.

In the event that an interim dividend is declared, the record date will be halfway through the fiscal year, and the rate will need to be confirmed at BOD.

Dividend Payment Frequency

Quarterly, semi-annual or annual. Record date is typically December 31 (around 80% of issuing companies in Korea have their book-close date on December 31). The dividend ratio is based upon the market value instead of per value.

Interest Payment Frequency

Quarterly, semi-annual or annual.

Interest on corporate bonds is usually paid on a quarterly basis. Coupons on government bonds or public bonds are paid either quarterly or semi-annually, depending on the issue. Interest on convertible bonds is usually paid on an annual basis. Ex date and book close date are not recognised concepts in the local market and interest due is calculated based on the holdings at the Korea Securities Depository (KSD) on interest payable date. The KSD will credit interest into the local custodian bank’s account at BOK. The local custodian banks calculate the taxes due based on its holding period and the appropriate tax treaties as well as submitted tax forms and distribute the net income to the underlying investors.

Interest Accrual Rate

Actual/365-day basis

Corporate Actions

Common Events:

bonus issues, rights issues, stock dividends, convertible bonds, conversion of depository receipts, stock split, stock merger and cash offer.

Rights Tradeable:

Rights can be legally traded either at the KRX or the OTC market.

New Shares from Exercised Rights:

Typically received one month after the subscription date . Listed Companies fix the subscription price of rights issues up to three business days prior to the subscription date or it will be fixed at the stage of announcement. This shortened timeframe allows investors three days to fund their account when taking up a rights offer. Corporate actions are reported daily by the KSE.

Additional Information

Most corporate actions occur in March/April. The Korea Exchange (KRX) will provide the English translation of Corporate Actions announcements from September 13, 2010. Such English translations will be provided in the KIND system of the KRX (http://engkind.krx.co.kr).

Bonus issues
On the announcement date, local custodians notify their clients of the books close date and approximate ratio. A further advice is sent when the exact ratio is fixed, then again upon receipt of new shares. The exact payment date is often only confirmed one or two days beforehand. Resultant shares are supposed to be listed and traded around 2 weeks after the record date but are normally received around one month after record date. Cash is paid for fractional entitlements.

Protection of Rights

Entitlements are based on the settled positions as of record date, and not on traded positions.

Proxy Voting

Foreign Investor Restrictions

Unrestricted voting rights.

Shares Blocked

Shares are not blocked for sale in the process of exercising the votes.

Meeting Notices/Agendas

Provided in Korean by the companies from which the subcustodian translates a summary of the agenda into English. Annual general meetings and extraordinary general meetings are officially announced two weeks in advance and are typically convened by boards of directors. Shareholders owning more than 3% of the outstanding shares are also allowed to convene 
meetings.

Meeting Outcome

Available on the day after the meeting (published in the Stock Market newspaper).

Company Reports

On request, subject to availability.

Power of Attorney

Required.

Other

Shareholders are entitled to vote based on the number of settled position as of record date. 

The Commercial Act does not allow shareholder to split their shares to vote different for one agenda item. However, in case the reason for split voting is submitted in writing three days before the meeting date and if it is accepted by the issuing company, split voting is possible.

Taxation

Dividend Tax Rate

Standard rate of 22%. However, for foreign investors residing in a country where there is a double taxation treaty (DTT) signed with the Korean government, then such investors will be able to benefit the reduced tax rate in accordance to the DTT upon submission of necessary tax application document to the withholding agent (i.e. local custodian bank) prior to dividend payment.

For guidance on Korea Tax rate please visit NTS's website: www.nts.go.kr

Interest Tax Rate

Standard rate of 22% for cash balance. However, non-residents’ standard withholding tax rate on interest income derived from bonds is 15.4%. In addition, for foreign investors residing in a country where there is a double taxation treaty (DTT) signed with the Korean government, then such investors will be able to benefit the reduced tax rate in accordance to the DTT upon submission of necessary tax application document to the withholding agent(i.e. sub-custodian bank) prior to interest payment.

Capital Gains Tax Rate
  1. Capital gains tax (CGT)
  • If there is a positive price difference between the initial purchase and the resultant sales of a particular stock, this is regarded as capital gain. This capital gain cannot be offset with a sales transaction of another stock, which shows no capital gains but a capital loss. The two transactions will be regarded as different transactions, and CGT will be applied on each when applicable.
  • For non-resident investors who reside in tax treaty countries, depending on the tax documentation submitted by the foreign investor, the foreign investor will either be taxed or tax exempt in accordance to the double taxation treaty between Korea and foreign investor's residency. (DTT).
  • According to the Korea tax law, the default CGT is the lower of 11 per cent of the gross proceeds or 22% of capital gains. Also, listed stocks trading on stock market are exempted from CGT, if the investor holds less than 25% stake in a listed company..
  • The withholder of CGT is securities companies.
  1. Securities transaction tax
  • Apart from income taxes, dividend taxes and CGTs, there is a securities transaction tax, which is levied on the seller of the stocks in Korea. The securities transaction tax is levied based on the location of where the stock transaction was made: the Stock Market Division/KOSDAQ Market Division of the KRX or the over the counter (OTC).
  • If the transaction is settled through the Stock Market Division of the KRX, the securities transaction tax is 0.1 per cent of the gross sales proceeds. In addition to the securities transaction tax, an additional 0.15 per cent of special agricultural tax is also levied, and the total taxable rate is 0.25 per cent of the gross sales proceeds.
  • If the transaction is settled through the KOSDAQ, the securities transaction tax is 0.25 % of the gross sales proceeds. There is no additional special agricultural tax for transaction in the KOSDAQ.
  • Transactions made outside the Stock Market Division or the KOSDAQ Market Division of the KRX, namely over-the-counter transactions, is 0.45 % of the gross sales proceed. 
  • The securities transaction tax is levied only on the seller and it is not levied on purchases or on fixed income transactions such as bonds.
  • The withholder of the securities transaction tax is securities companies.
Tax Treaties

Albania

Algeria

Australia

Austria

Azerbaijan

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Belarus

Belgium

Brazil

Brunei Darussalam

Bulgaria

Canada

Chile

China

Colombia

Croatia

Czech Republic

Denmark

Ecuador

Egypt**

Estonia

Ethiopia

Fiji

Finland

France

Gabon

Germany

Georgia

Greece

Hong Kong

Hungary

Iceland

India

Indonesia

Iran

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Jordan

Kazakhstan

Kenya

Kyrgyz Republic

Kuwait

Laos

Latvia

Lithuania

Luxembourg

Malaysia

Malta

Mexico

Mongolia

Morocco

Myanmar

Nepal

Netherlands

New Zealand

Norway

Oman

Pakistan

Panama

Papua New Guinea

Peru

Philippines

Poland

Portugal

Qatar

Romania

Russia

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Singapore

Slovak

Slovenia

South Africa

Spain

Sri Lanka

Sweden

Switzerland

Tajikistan

Thailand

Tunisia

Turkey

Turkmenistan

U.A.E

U.K.

Uruguay

U.S.A.      

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Venezuela

Vietnam

The above list of countries with tax treaties with South Korea.

Stamp Duty

None

Other Taxes
  • All KRX trades are subject to a securities transaction tax of 0.23% (will be reduced to 0.15% effective January 1, 2023) of the transaction value payable by the seller. However, securities transaction tax for KONEX trades remains at 0.1%.
  • All OTC trades are subject to a securities transaction tax of 0.43% (will be reduced to 0.35% effective January 1, 2023) of the transaction value, payable by the seller.
  • Exchange traded funds (ETF's) are exempted from this tax. The ETFs that are subject to the income tax to foreign investors are Fixed income ETF, Commodities ETF, Leverage/inverse ETFs and Non-Korean foreign index ETFs
  • Securities transaction tax is only applicable to sales of stocks, and therefore, bonds/fixed incomes are not subject to securities transaction tax.

Local Websites