Minors in Korea owned W4 trillion worth of stocks in 2011, marking a fourfold increase from one year earlier, as more wealthy business owners transferred their shares to their children to save on taxes after stock prices plummeted last year.
The Korea Exchange revealed on Wednesday that 92,000 minors under the age of 19 owned stocks last year, accounting for 1.8 percent of the total number of shareholders on the local bourse.
Their holdings amounted to W3.95 trillion, or 1.4 percent of the total value of the stock market, and boiled down to each minor owning W43 million worth of issues. This marked a steady increase from W370 billion in 2004, W750 billion in 2009 and W1.13 trillion in 2010.
According to the National Tax Service, other types of assets were also handed over from parents to children. In 2010, 5,989 minors received property and cash worth a total of W712 billion. Of these, six received assets worth over W5 billion worth each.
As of 2010, 171 minors had to pay comprehensive real estate tax, which is levied when the total value of an individual's real estate properties exceeds W900 million.
"The wealthy tend to bequeath their property to their children in piecemeal fashion so they can pay less tax," said Sohn Moon-ok, a tax accountant at Mirae Asset.