In Korea’s equity capital markets, two firms stand above all others. NH Investment & Securities has long been the strongest, boasting bookrunner slots on more deals than any other firm, and managing to clinch mandates on some of the biggest deals each year. But Korea Investment & Securities appears ready to seize the crown.
The sheer number of deals tells an interesting story. The firm closed 27 transactions worth an apportioned $2.36 billion in the last year, according to Dealogic. That was still $130 million less than NH Investment & Securities managed, but it came across four more deals, marking the first time since 2012 that Korea I&S had executed more mandates than its rival.
But winning a few, small block deals does not a top securities house make. Korea I&S has also been mandated on some of the biggest and most sought after IPOs over the last 18 months, including Doosan Bobcat’s $788.7 million listing, which left NH off the bookrunner list.
After a stellar year last year, Korea I&S has not rested on its laurels. By September 8, 2017, the firm was leading the ECM league table in the country, its $1.53 billion of apportioned league table credits easily outshining NH’s $1.15 billion.
Seoul: Korea Investment & Securities' HQ
The firm has clearly impressed issuers. But investors have also given Korea I&S an undeniable vote of approval. It dominated Asiamoney’s 2016 Brokers Poll, winning every Korean category. An overwhelming showing in the research awards, where its sector analysts from real estate to technology hardware and equipment scooped top prizes, shows the firm’s strength in depth.
Korea stands out from some other markets covered in these awards, where domestic players all too often lag behind foreign rivals. In Korea, the two biggest local securities houses stand above all – but momentum is clearly with Korea I&S.