Korea Investment & Securities will launch an investment banking unit in New York to enhance its global deal-making capability, in a move that should also help South Korean clients hampered by Covid-19 related travel restrictions.  

The firm has filed with U.S. financial authorities for a license to perform investment banking activities, industry sources said on Tuesday (September 22). It will be its second office in New York: the existing office is registered as a broker-dealer.

“Korea Investment & Securities’ investment banking unit in New York is expected to be operational shortly after the license is obtained,” an industry insider said.

The move is aimed at bolstering the company’s global business. The new office will provide mergers and acquisitions advisory services, alternative investment offerings and acquisition financing services to clients, not only in the U.S. but in other key regions. It will support clients throughout the whole investment process from sourcing deals to conducting due diligence.

Industry watchers said the office might also handle investment services for Korea Investment & Securities’ South Korean clients, who have been having difficulties in allocating their money to offshore alternative assets due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions.

“Several investment banking veterans at local securities firms are said to be moving to Korea Investment & Securities’ new office in New York,” said another industry insider. “The firm will reportedly be recruiting more people there too.”

The company has been doubling down on foreign alternative investment in recent years.

A partnership between the firm and Tiger Alternative Investors was named as the preferred buyer earlier this month for a new student housing building near the University of Texas in Austin. The deal came months after Korea Investment & Securities purchased Sol at West Village, a student housing community serving the University of California in Davis, California, in partnership with other investors.

Korea Investment & Securities also invested in Paris skyscraper Tour Europe last year and in London office building 70 Mark Lane in 2018. (Reporting by Byung-yoon Kim)