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Kakao Bank expands partnerships for brokerage services

Kakao Bank, an online-only bank in South Korea, said Tuesday that stock trading services of brokerage firm NH Investment & Securities are now available on its mobile application.

Since users’ personal data is already registered on the online bank’s mobile platform, Kakao Bank users can open a securities account on the mobile banking platform more easily than with other services via stock traders’ home trading systems or brick-and-mortar branches, according the banking firm. The company is affiliated with the nation’s largest mobile messenger operator Kakao.

Brokerage firm Korea Investment & Securities enabled Kakao Bank subscribers to open an account via the mobile platform in March last year, and has seen 1.2 million new account openings since then.

“Utilizing brokerage services offered by two of the nation’s leading stock trading firms is now available on Kakao Bank’s platform,” said an official from Kakao Bank. “The company will expand partnerships with more brokerage houses to cater to the needs of customers.”

A new online customer for the stock trading services is given 10,000 won ($8.30) as a reward until end-March, and is exempt from paying commission fees for good, it said.

Meanwhile, Kakao Pay, a subsidiary of Kakao, received approval from the Financial Services Commission to take over Baro Investment & Securities, now Kakao Investment & Securities, early this month. The acquisition is expected to intensify competition among conventional stock trading firms and emerging financial technology companies, like Viva Republica, operator of money transfer platform Toss, to take the lion’s share in the local equity market. Viva Republica, whose application to launch brokerage and banking businesses is being reviewed by financial authorities, is forecast to jump into the brokerage segment in the coming years.

By Kim Young-won (