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July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Mirae Asset Securities Co., the first South Korean brokerage to expand into Brazil, plans to increase its workforce in the South American nation by 40 percent within a year as it seeks to boost market share. Shares rose the most in two weeks.
Mirae, the brokerage affiliate of South Korea’s biggest mutual fund manager, is aiming to boost headcount at its Sao Paulo-based unit to 70 from 50 currently, Ku Wonhwoi, the firm’s head of strategy & planning, said by phone today from Seoul. The new hires may include traders and staff for wealth management, he said. The company is “open” to acquiring a Brazilian brokerage, Ku said, without being more specific.
“We just started there and we need to keep investing, whether it be people or infrastructure, for at least two-to- three years,” Ku, 43, said. “We’re betting on the country’s strong growth potential, where the demographic structure looks good and natural resources are rich.”
Mirae Asset, which established its Brazil unit in August, joins Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. in seeking to expand in the South American country, which has the second-largest economy among developing nations after China.
Brazil will enjoy a demographic “bonus” until 2025, with more people entering the workforce than leaving it, central bank President Alexandre Tombini said on May 19.
Mirae’s planned investments may help it boost the market share of broking services in Brazil to 3 percent in three years, from about 0.4 percent currently, Ku said.
Shares of Seoul-based Mirae Asset rose 1.9 percent to 45,700 won on the Korea Exchange today, the biggest gain since June 17. The stock rose as much as 3 percent. The benchmark Kospi Index gained 1.2 percent.
Brazil’s $1.6 trillion economy compares with China’s $5 trillion. The value of stock traded daily on average in the South American nation has increased to 6.47 billion reais ($4.1 billion) so far this year from 5.29 billion reais in 2009, according to the exchange in Sao Paulo.
Goldman Sachs said last week it’s increasing its Brazil workforce by about 20 percent this year. Goldman’s Brazilian unit, which raised headcount to about 300 from 200 last year, plans to invest during 2011 in research, asset management, private banking, sales, investment banking and trading.
JPMorgan, the second-biggest U.S. bank, has 630 employees in Brazil and plans to expand to more than 1,000 by late 2013, Claudio Berquo, senior country officer for JPMorgan in Brazil, said in April.
Mirae Asset, which has units in Hong Kong, Vietnam, China, U.K., U.S. and Brazil, aims to earn more than 30 percent of its operating profit overseas by 2020, the company said in a statement yesterday. The firm didn’t give comparative figures. The South Korean brokerage is also preparing to set up a unit in Singapore, Ku said.
Mirae Asset had 2,102 employees in South Korea as of March, according to a June 24 regulatory filing. It has at least 173 workers at overseas units currently, the company’s statement yesterday said.
-- With assistance from Alexander Cuadros in Sao Paulo. Editor: Darren Boey
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