CEO Choi Reaches Top From Salesman
Choi Hyun-man, CEO and vice chairman of Mirae Asset Securities, is the dream of financial workers in Yeouido. His career began in the industry in 1989 as a humble stock salesman. Eight years later, he became the inaugural CEO of Mirae Asset Global Investments. He was only 36.
Now he is also the longest serving CEO of the securities industry ― he has led Mirae Asset securities for ten years through crisis after crisis and bubble after bubble. This shows how deep the trust the shareholders and employees have in him.
Choi's leadership is based on self-discipline and desire to change.
His personal motto in Korean can roughly be translated into ``sincere execution.'' There is no short-cut solution for sustainable growth, and it is only achievable when one sincerely fulfils his role, he says.
Such humility comes from his humble background. Born in a rural village, he majored in politics in university, hoping to become a public servant with stable income. But he soon found out that his real talent did not match well with the bureaucrats' world. Joining a brokerage house in 1989, he soon began to stand out in sales and marketing, and rapidly climbed the corporate ladder.
Choi joined Park Hyeon-joo, the chairman, when he had the reputation of being one of leading brokers covering south of Seoul, the richest area of the country. Since then, he has been at the forefront of innovation at Mirae Asset.
Choi is not the type of CEO who is stuck inside a corner office, giving orders over the phone. Even these days he spends most of his days meeting clients and employees at the front. The role of asset managers is to take a good care of their clients, he believes.
That is why Mirae Asset has been restless searching for new investment opportunities and schemes, which are beneficial to both the company and its customers. Globalization of its portfolio is also a reflection of such a customer-first philosophy, because geographical diversification is the best way to minimize the risk of the portfolio, he believes.
Choi has made Mirae Asset a unique securities firm in Korea by reducing its reliance on the traditional stock brokerage business and instead by expanding into new sectors such as emerging market funds. He believes that the next growth engine will be retail and wholesale pension funds.
He also believes investment has to be easily manageable. Under his instruction, the company launched the ``Mirae Asset Account'' scheme last fall. It is an all-in-one account for various financial products, so clients can make and revise their portfolio within a single account.