The bank has engaged in continuous dialogue with South Korean regulators for several years and applied for the license following Korea's decision to deregulate its foreign exchange market in July 2002.
“Securing this licence is the culmination of a very productive six months for Merrill Lynch in Korea. We have made a number of significant appointments across all our businesses and we will continue to build our franchise in the country,” said HH Choi, managing director and Korea country head for global markets and investment banking.
Merrill Lynch has added to its Korean structured solutions, forex derivatives trading and equities sales teams in the past few months. Stephen Shin joined structured solutions as a vice-president from JP Morgan Chase and Moon-Soo Kim was hired as a director in the same unit from Citigroup. Both report to structured solutions head Samir Atassi. Hong-Sik Kim joined as a trader covering onshore Korean won-related forex and cross-currency derivatives markets. Based in Seoul, Kim will report to Stanley Zau, head of Pac-Rim local currency trading.