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July 16, 2024

Kyobo Life ventures into asset trusts

PUBLISHED : July 08, 2024 - 16:08

UPDATED : July 08, 2024 - 16:08

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Kyobo Life Insurance building in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. (Kyobo Life Insurance)

Kyobo Life Insurance is stepping into the asset trusts business, marking the latest milestone in its evolution to become a comprehensive asset management company.

Kyobo Life, a major South Korean life insurer, announced Monday it recently secured a license in the asset trusts business from the Financial Services Commission. This marks the company's first move in the trusts sector since obtaining a license for the money trust business in 2007.

With this new license, Kyobo Life can now offer comprehensive asset trust services, integrating the management and operation of various asset types -- including money, real estate, securities and special property -- under a single contract.

The company noted the service is becoming a popular method for retirement planning as it allows customers to pre-designate how their assets will be used in the event of death or dementia, thus preventing potential inheritance disputes.

Given the aging population, interest in inheritance, gifts and trusts aimed at these markets is expected to grow. According to Statistics Korea, the value of inherited and gifted assets in Korea reached 188.4 trillion won ($136.7 billion) in 2022, more than double the 90.4 trillion won recorded in 2017.

Kyobo Life currently provides trust services for will-substitute trusts, gift trusts, trusts for the disabled and guardianship arrangements, with plans to add trusts for insurance claim rights within this year.

Among these, the will-substitute trust has been gaining popularity in the local trust sector as a type of living trust that enables customers to manage assets during their lifetime and specify posthumous distribution to chosen beneficiaries.

Kyobo Life noted it is expanding into comprehensive asset trusts to bolster its customer management capabilities. According to the firm, the sector aligns with the life insurance industry by offering lifecycle-tailored products that assist customers in achieving financial goals.

The company also emphasized commitment to its core value of dependability. With its expansion in trust services, Kyobo Life aims to act as a trusted financial guardian in retirement, helping customers navigate life's challenges and safeguard valuable assets for inheritance.

Kyobo Life intends to diversify its business sectors and respond promptly to demographic shifts, particularly the aging trend, by becoming a robust comprehensive asset management company. South Korea is the world's fastest aging country, poised to become a superaged society next year, with 20 percent of its population aged 65 or older.

"A significant increase in demand for comprehensive asset management is noted among customers, driven by demographic changes and the expanding affluent class," noted a Kyobo Life official. "Kyobo Life aims to strengthen its capabilities to emerge as a comprehensive asset management leader, offering lifelong protection as a life insurer and tailored total solutions for customer assets."

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)

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