Carlyle invests $11m in Korean financial services provider

Korea’s anti-foreign image has not deterred Carlyle from investing in a local distributor of financial products.

The Carlyle Group has invested KRW 10.4 billion ($11 million; €7.5 million) in FN Stars, an independent financial product distributor established in August 2006 by two Korean industry veterans. Carlyle is investing from a $680 million Asian growth capital fund, which has been steady in capital deployment across the region.

The investment will help to expand the financial company’s scale of operations through hiring and training of consultants, procuring more investment products as well as identifying potential acquisition and partnership opportunities, according to a statement.

Wayne Tsou, managing director and head of Carlyle Asia Growth group, said: “We see channel diversification as a positive step to address new consumer needs in Korea as a result of an aging population, early retirement and increased financial planning.”

Financial services is one of the ten core industries where Carlyle has developed deep global expertise. In Korea, Carlyle is famed for a lucrative exit from KorAm Bank, an investment made in the wake of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis. More recently, Carlyle Asian Growth Group picked up a 49 percent stake in Chennai-based Repco Home Finance, an Indian mortgage finance company for $27.7 million.

FN STARS was co-founded Park Joon Kyu, former head of personal financial services at HSBC Korea and Lee Dae Gyun from AIG Life Korea. FN STARS has a sales force of nearly 700 professional agents and 18 branches across the country.