FX & Treasury in South Korea

Report date: 
25 Nov 2022


South Korea is a market which it is notoriously difficult for foreigners to penetrate: this applies as much to banks as it does to industrial companies. The culture is fiercely patriotic, and the vitality of South Korean industry means that most products are available from local companies, who are often world leaders.


The result is a situation where, despite the size of the economy – in 2021, it had the world’s 10th largest GDP, ahead of Brazil and Russia – it tends not to be a major market for most non South Korean MNCs. This was reflected in the call, where the country is complicated, and not a major focus for most participants. The situation is further complicated by language – English language skills can be rare amongst local staff and banks – and by a significant reluctance on the part of staff and customers to work with foreign banks. When you add in a series of specific, and very strong, local customs and processes, such as customers who often insist on making payments in person, you have a challenging situation.


Despite all of this, our participants manage to work successfully. Cross border cash pooling is possible, using the Consolidated Management of Funds (CMF) structure, which has to be approved by the Bank of Korea. The approval process is burdensome and requires a lot of work – and it all has to be done in Korean. But it works. 


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This report was produced by Monie Lindsey, based on a Treasury Peer Call chaired by Rupert Keenlyside

Topics covered in this report: 
Cash Pooling - cross border, Hedging FX, Bank Relationships, Collections - domestic, CMF, Netting, Dividends, Virtual accounts
Service providers discussed in this report: 
HSBC, JP Morgan, Standard Chartered, BAML, Citi

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