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Kakao Pay Securities highlights fun factor in stock trading

Tech-savvy securities firm aims to shake up market with new tech, entertaining elements

July 1, 2020 - 17:39 By Kim Young-won
Kim Dae-hong, CEO of Kakao Pay Securiteis, speaks at a press conference on Wednesday in Seoul. (Kakao Pay Securities)

Riding the wave of contactless service, Kakao Pay Securities, a brokerage backed by mobile messenger operator Kakao, said Wednesday that it would take the stock trading scene to the next level by adding a dab of fun to investment activities and launching easy-to-use services.

“Because of high barriers in the investment and financial sectors for the public, there are even new terms being coined, such as geum-al-mot in Korean, to describe financially illiterate people despite high digital literacy in the nation,” said Kim Dae-hong, CEO of Kakao Pay Securities at a press conference on Wednesday in Seoul, referring to a relatively low proportion of financial assets held by households here.

“Investing in financial products has for long been considered to be complex and difficult, and Kakao Pay Securities’ vision is to change such a perception,” he added.

Kakao jumped in the stock trading segment as its fintech affiliate Kakao Pay decided to acquire Baro Securities, a stock brokerage firm, in September 2018.

On Feb. 6, a day after the stock broker received approval for the acquisition from the nation’s financial authorities, the company changed its name to Kakao Pay Securities and launched stock trading services for retail investors.

The nascent company has put much focus on developing technology-driven stock trading systems, actively hiring developers and IT experts while becoming a magnet that attracts seasoned experts in the traditional financial sector.

It also calls itself a techfin company instead of fintech firm, to emphasize most of its operations are based on technology, and to differentiate itself from conventional securities firms, which are widely perceived to have rigid and not-so-trendy corporate cultures.

“All the staff, whom we call crew members, at Kakao Pay Securities think the company should be different in every aspect, not only in terms of its business model but also in terms of its corporate culture,” Kim said.

The company’s stock trading services launched so far include a product that allows subscribers to invest in funds with changes and cashable rewards from their Kakao Pay mobile payment services. With the spare-change investment product, Kakao Pay subscribers choose to have change or rewards automatically invested in funds -- currently three types of funds are available on the firm’s platform. The automatic investment service has attracted 320,000 subscribers.

The entire number of account holders for Kakao Pay Securities has crossed 1.4 million recently. Those in their 20s and 30s account for 62.1 percent of the entire account holders while the figures for those in their 40s and 50s, who take up 21.9 percent and 11.5 percent, respectively, have been rising rapidly thanks to increasing preference of mobile services among the older generation.

The company said it plans to roll out tailored asset management services for individuals, which will be based on advanced technologies, such as big data, robo advisors, and artificial intelligence. It launched a new fund that invests in bonds on Wednesday.

“While launching new and fun services, the company will help retail investors develop healthy investment habits,” the CEO said.

By Kim Young-won (