The Korea Herald


S. Korean retail investors’ stock holdings inch closer to foreign ownership

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : April 1, 2021 - 15:21

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(Yonhap) (Yonhap)
Stocks held by Korean individuals jumped by 58 percent last year, getting closer to be on par with that of foreigners amid an equity investment craze, data showed Thursday.

The local investors’ ownership accounted for 28 percent of the total market capitalization as of end-2020, up 3.6 percentage points on-year, according to data compiled by the Korea Securities Depository.

Their holdings were worth around 662 trillion won ($584.89 billion), soaring 58 percent from a year earlier.

In contrary to the rising power of domestic investors, stock holdings of foreigners fell by 2.1 percentage points on-year to 31.8 percent in the same year, the data showed.

Individual investors attempted to profit by buying cheap equities in chaotic markets hit by COVID-19 last year.

Around 3 million individuals started trading stocks last year. While the accumulated number of local retail investors came to 9.12 million, 32.8 percent of them were considered newcomers.

Per-capita holdings also increased by 6.2 percent on-year to 72.45 million won.

Amid growing signs of economic recovery, an increasing number of retail investors also appear to be eager to set up new strategies to counter possible changes in the finance market as central banks are mulling the timing of rate hikes, according to market watchers.

Around 24,000 retail investors rushed into an online seminar held by Samsung Securities, the brokerage arm of Samsung Group, on Wednesday to get advice from market experts, the company said. The seminar was held to offer global market prospects along with promising listed companies in the US and China.

“Investors had questions not only about individual stocks but also how to rebalance their portfolios in each country’s stock market,” said Jang Hyo-sun, an analyst at Samsung Securities. “We could see how serious retail investors are and that they have already managed their assets structurally by expanding their portfolios globally in line with investment environment changes.”

The seminar was also held to meet the growing demand for various investment services and information, the company said.

By Jie Ye-eun (