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Samsung Securities plans investor compensation

Apr 12,2018
Samsung Securities has rolled out measures to compensate its investors for their losses after a so-called fat-finger trading mistake last Friday.

The brokerage firm has decided to compensate all retail investors that owned stocks before 9:35 a.m. - when the first sell order for mistakenly distributed shares was placed - on April 6 and sold them on the market at some point on that day.

While it’s unclear how much damage was done to retail investors, many are thought to have panic sold their shares when the company’s stock price plummeted as much as 12 percent.

The price of shares to be compensated was set at 39,800 won ($37.41), the peak price that the stock reached before it took a nosedive.

The company will make up for the difference between 39,800 won and the amount that investors actually sold their shares for. If the investor has since bought back some of the shares that they sold on that day, the company will make up the remaining difference to ensure the 39,800 won threshold is reached for every share.

Samsung Securities is currently operating a call center to handle complaints. It has received 591 calls, out of which 107 were actual requests for financial compensation from investors.

Samsung Securities also said it will try to address concerns that the incident has damaged the overall shareholder value of the company.

A company spokesperson said it is currently reviewing as many different options as possible “to improve shareholder value and regain market trust.”

Still, it remains questionable whether the company will be able to gain back the trust of the market.

Following the incident where 2.8 billion shares were wrongly distributed to company employees, 16 of which decided to sell 5.01 million shares to profit from the blunder, a number of pension funds, including the National Pension Service, decided on Tuesday to stop using Samsung Securities as their brokerage, questioning its moral standards. Following the pension funds, the Korea Land and Housing Corporation, a state-run land development company, also reportedly suspended its trading with Samsung Securities.

On the same day, the Financial Supervisory Service announced it will conduct an industry-wide probe to investigate the dividend distribution system for securities firms in Korea.

The watchdog will inspect the system that distributes stocks to company employees, which was the very source of the recent fiasco.

There are currently 15 brokerage companies in Korea other than Samsung Securities with stock options for their employees.


BY CHOI HYUNG-JO [choi.hyungjo@joongang.co.kr]