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Presidential hopefuls woo retail investors, vow to help Kospi reach 5,000 points

Former Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (left) and ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae announce their presidential election pledges on capital market policies and regulations during their visits to the Korea Exchange’s Seoul office Monday. (Yonhap)
Former Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun (left) and ruling Democratic Party of Korea’s lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae announce their presidential election pledges on capital market policies and regulations during their visits to the Korea Exchange’s Seoul office Monday. (Yonhap)
Two presidential candidates of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea chose the Korea Exchange as a rare location to make a political announcement Monday, saying they will open up a new era of the nation’s benchmark Kospi, and help it reach 5,000 points -- about 50 percent higher than the current index.

In an apparent gesture to woo retail investors, Chung Sye-kyun, formerly prime minister under the Moon Jae-in administration, and three-term lawmaker Lee Kwang-jae visited the stock trading operator’s Seoul office to make campaign pledges ahead of their party primary, mainly touching on potential policies supporting the capital market.

“The domestic capital market has been an ‘uneven playing field.’ We would like to change the current short selling scheme drastically to let retail investors compete with institutions in a fair manner,” Chung said.

The former premier vowed to reconstruct the tech-heavy Kosdaq market to be more dynamic, so it could even compete with the main bourse market, with plenty of market information and eased listing requirements.

Not only showing his will for the local stock market to become more widely known as a global capital market, Chung also promised to work hard to attract international companies to bring their Asia regional headquarters to Korea, as many have recently left Hong Kong.

Lee pledged to create an environment where investors can increase their assets via stock investment in the era of near-zero interest rates. At the same time, he mentioned giving tax benefits to long-term investors of a single stock.

“We need to adopt a fractional share investing scheme and allow retail investors to accumulate blue-chip stocks at a cheaper price. For example, shares of LG Household & Health Care are over 1 million won ($885), which can be burdensome for small investors to buy the stock,” the lawmaker said.

Meanwhile, the presidential hopefuls said they will unify their presidential candidacies by July 5. The merger is to boost their party’s chances to win the 2022 presidential race, which is scheduled for March 9.

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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