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Financial Returnees as New Agents in East Asia: The Case of Korean Private Equity Funds

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Although the standing of Anglo-American capitalism has been badly damaged by the global economic crisis, the return of the state in emerging markets is by no means assured. Over the past decade, financial processes originating in Anglo-American markets, such as derivatives, hedge funds and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), have made quiet headway in emerging markets. One of the transmission channels is financial returnees, defined as elites returning to domestic finance from either global finance abroad or from foreign financial institutions in their home countries. Many financial returnees pursue business agendas that parallel the Anglo-American model, while portraying themselves as local for domestic constituencies. These actions are now especially visible in the rise of private equity funds in emerging markets. This article defines the concept of a financial returnee and charts the impact of these individuals in importing the Anglo-American private equity model to Asia with Korea as the primary case study. Once foreign-controlled, the private equity industry in Korea is now domestically-run and financial returnees have been integral in this sector's short but important history.
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Keywords: Anglo-American capitalism; Korea; domestic politics; financial returnees; foreign training; private equity funds

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong

Publication date: August 1, 2013

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