HSBC has boosted its fund administration capabilities in Korea with the adoption of Swift technology.

The bank is the first among its competitors to do so, as it aims to capitalise on rising demand for overseas investments.

While Korea boasts a highly efficient automated onshore administration market, the local infrastructure is not set up to handle the growing volume of cross-border flows. Experts say that local administrators struggle to be able to service overseas assets, as fund managers increasingly look for the provision of local fund administration and custody as well as the ability to service overseas assets.

The introduction of Swift û a secure messaging and software co-operative û goes some way to providing a more effective and secure means of communication and better services for overseas funds, according to HSBC.

"As more local funds start to invest in overseas assets and more complex types of securities, we aim to bring international best practice to the market place. We help it develop and reduce the chances of error,ö says Alastair Murray, head of investment administration, HSBC institutional fund services in Hong Kong.

ôWhen it comes to domestic funds investing locally, it is easy to connect with the fund managersÆ data; it is all done through the Korean Securities Depositary (KSD). But in the case of overseas securities, we need to capture the data from overseas fund managers, most of whom are already Swift-enabled. This is why we have now enabled our local system to receive Swift instructions so that the data can be input automatically,ö he adds.

Investors meanwhile await latest developments regarding the impending $6.3 billion sale of Korea Exchange Bank (KEB) to HSBC by US private equity firm Lone Star. While attempts to sell KEB continue to face regulatory hurdles, if the deal does go through, HSBC will also inherit Kebis, a wholly owned fund administrator subsidiary of KEB.

This would be in addition to its previous acquisition of Korea's Asset Management Technology (AMTek) a few years ago.

HSBC Fund Services (Korea) Limited provides a range of fund administration services including fund accounting, valuation, reporting and investment compliance monitoring.

HSBC Institutional Fund Services, which is part of HSBC Securities Services, had assets under funds administration of $1.3 trillion and assets under custody of $6 trillion as of 31 December 2007.