Goldman Sachs shutters South Korean money management unit

Goldman Sachs Group (GS) is closing its South Korean asset management business after five years, according to a source familiar with the company.

The unit has about $4 billion in assets under management and employs 40 staff members. Goldman Sachs will attempt to retain the majority of the Seoul-based team, placing them in positions elsewhere in the firm, the source said.

The company is also looking to transfer some strategies to other external money managers. Another option is to liquidate the portfolios over time, according to the source. Goldman Sachs’ other operations based in Seoul will not be affected by the decision to close the asset money management unit.

In an e-mail, Goldman Sachs spokesman Niklas Ekholm said: “Our expectations for the local Korean asset management business have not been met.” He declined to elaborate.

The firm’s asset management business in South Korea was launched in 2007 with the acquisition of Macquarie-IMM Investment Management, a firm co-owned by Australia’s Macquarie Bank and South Korea’s IMM & Co. with about 10 trillion won ($9.2 billion) in AUM at the time.