Merrill Lynch is building its Korea business.

For a start, the Seoul branch says it has received a full-scope derivatives license that will enable the firm to structure, trade, and sell a complete array of derivative instruments in the Korean market that are custom-designed to meet local and global market needs.

"We are gratified to receive this new license as it underlines the public trust Merrill Lynch has established in Korea," says Hyung Ho Choi, head of Merrill Lynch's operation in Korea. "We anticipate substantial growth of our business in Korea as this market strengthens and as transparency and governance continue to improve."

The firm also says that two experienced derivatives professionals have joined Merrill Lynch to help lead expansion in this field.
Inhwan Oh, 37, joins Merrill Lynch Korea as director, strategic solutions group. He comes to the bank from BNP Paribas Seoul where he was a director of special fixed-income products, including liability derivatives, asset derivatives, and corporate-advisory services.

Prior to that, Oh was with KPMG-Samjung Accounting Corp. for three years as well as with South Korea's Financial Supervisory Services for five years where he supervised bank risk management. He has a masters of finance as well as a bachelors of business administration from Korea University.
Also joining Merrill Lynch is Yoonkee Cho, 35, who becomes vice president, local currency trading . He comes to the firm from Citibank Korea where he most recently served as a trader of interest rate options as well as of exotic and cross-markets.

Cho was with Citibank for five years and prior to that worked at Asian Banking Corp. He has a masters in finance from the London Business School as well as a bachelors in business administration from Korea University.