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Shown above is a Korea Stock Exchange office in Seoul. Courtesy of Korea Stock Exchange

Korea doesn’t want foreigners to invest”

World-famous investor Jim Rogers lashed out at the Korean stock exchange system, which he said is complicated and very difficult to use. He even said that “investing in South Korea’s stocks is a real pain.”

You (foreigners) cannot transfer shares from one broker to another. I just don’t like investing in South Korea because the stock exchange is so absurd,” Rogers told The Korea News Plus in a recent telephone interview.

I have invested in 50 or 60 countries around the world in my history and the South Korean stock exchange really, really, makes it difficult. I don’t think they want foreigners to invest in South Korea. I do have investments, but I don’t like investing in South Korea because the stock exchange makes it so incredibly difficult.”

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Jim Rogers/image from Wikipedia

The financial commentator based in Singapore, who co-founded the Quantum Fund and Soros Fund Management, argued that South Korea is a very controlled and regulated economy, which is “worse than China.”

I know businessmen who say they would rather do business in China than in South Korea because South Korea is so complicated. Investing in the stock markets in South Korea is the same.”

There has been repeated criticism that the country’s economic system is not favorable for foreign investment. In response, Asia’s fourth-largest economy has made efforts to improve this sentiment.

However, such efforts have seemingly failed to meet the criteria of the American businessman.

Although there was a setback in the potential opening up of North Korea because of the failed summit last month between the reclusive regime and the United States, Rogers said that opportunities do abound in the North.

When North Korea opens, you will make a fortune going there and doing business,” he said.

In line with this expectation, Rogers said he has shares in Ananti, which has property in North Korea, and Korean Air, the nation’s top flag carrier.

Besides, Rogers said he is searching for other companies that would benefit from the opening of the North Korean economy.

Samsung would do better, but Samsung is too big. North Korea would not make much difference to Samsung,” he said. “So I am looking for smaller and medium-sized companies.”

Investing in ETFs

Asked about investing in the Seoul bourse, Rogers recommended people buy into exchange-traded funds (ETFs) rather than specific stocks. He expects that the former will do better and are easier to invest in.

An ETF refers to a fund that tracks a stock index. It differs from mutual funds because shares trade like a common stock on an exchange and their prices fluctuate all day just like ordinary shares.