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Overcoming Barriers of Exercising Stock Options in Korea: Jz will tear down the barriers

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I am an Iranian national who started working in IT at a small venture company in Korea. The CEO seemed to appreciate my hard work and dedication, even in the most challenging tasks, and granted me stock options. Although not a large quantity, it was a significant achievement for me, and it motivated me to work even harder, feeling recognized in a foreign land like Korea.

After about five years of employment, during which our company successfully went public, the face value of the stock, which was 500 KRW, rose to 100,000 KRW. However, as time is indifferent, I found myself in a situation where I had to return to my home country to take care of my elderly parents, being their only son. In the process of hastily organizing my departure from Korea and intending to exercise my stock options before my departure, I encountered an unexpected obstacle.

To exercise the stock options, one needs a bank account and a securities account. While I had a salary account opened at the beginning of my employment in Korea, I did not have a securities account. I tried to open one at various securities firms but was rejected by all.

The reason for the rejection is my Iranian nationality. This is perplexing because there are no regulations or laws from the Financial Supervisory Service or the Ministry of Economy and Finance prohibiting this; it’s based on the internal guidelines of each securities firm. I find myself in a difficult position. Can you help me Jz?


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