The nation’s chief financial regulator said that foreign investment community needs to have a deeper engagement with charities and causes for their own business interests.
“Corporate social responsibility has been a global response exiting the crisis,” Financial Supervisory Service Gov. Kwon Hyouk-se said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.
The FSS expects foreign financial institutions to contribute to the community as much as it expects from local companies, he said.
He plans to comment on the required social role of foreign financial firms operating in Korea during the 4th annual conference, dubbed the “FSS Speaks” that is slated for this Friday.
Giving a heads up to the gathering of market participants and policymakers, the governor said he would ask foreign corporate entities to systemize their contributions to society as a management tool to improve sustainable performance.
“I’m asking in an entirely voluntary context. This sits on social concerns on some of them, which are often blamed for doing less social good compared to the profits they take,” he said.
The day-long event on March 9 is expected to gather some 320 participants from foreign financial institutions, credit ratings agencies and senior regulatory officials to share views on the local financial market and the regulator’s policy direction for this year.
“It probably is their (market participants) only official chance to talk to policymakers and toss ideas around to learn the rules of the game,” he said. “It will be little about what I say, but more about working level discussions on pending issues.”
The morning session will be briefings about current economic climate and regulatory issues market participants need to be aware of this year. A question-and-answer session will follow in the afternoon along with policy explanations on each sector.
Kwon’s other priority was with consumer protection.
“There is a renewed push to improve measures for consumer protection at the international level. I would ask for full cooperation from foreign financial entities as we increase efforts to bolster consumer rights,” Kwon said.
The Cabinet on Jan. 31 passed a bill to create a consumer protection body under the FSS, tentatively named Financial Consumer Protection Agency. Kwon is soon to appoint the new body’s chairman and approve its budget as the chief regulator.
He also offered vision for the industry with the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement on the way.
“There will be synergies in the financial industry should foreign investment banks form partnerships with local ones. It will create jobs, offer quality services and could help local banks advance into overseas markets.”
The trade pact, ratified by the National Assembly in November, is scheduled to take effect on March 15.
By Cynthia J. Kim
권혁세 원장, “외국계은행 사회적 책임 요구할 것”
권혁세 금융감독원장은 “금융위기 극복과정에서 금융권의 사회적 책임 경영이 강조되고 있다”며 “외국계 금융기관도 사회공헌 부문을 체계화 해야 한다”고 말했다.
권 원장은 코리아헤럴드와의 인터뷰에서 외국계 금융회사의 사회공헌에 대한 평가가 엇갈리고 있다며 이 같이 밝혔다.
그는 9일 개최되는 FSS Speaks 2012 연례포럼에서 이에 대한 개선을 요청할 방침이다.
권 원장은 “외국계 회사들이 배당은 많이 가져가는데 사회공헌 쪽은 소홀하다는 비판이 있다”며 “자발적으로 사회공헌 활동을 늘리는 것이 국내영업에 있어서도 큰 도움이 될 것”이라고 말했다.
FSS Speaks 행사는 올해로 네 번째 열리는 외국계 금융사 대상 업무설명회다. 약 320명의 해외 금융기관, 국제신용평가사 주요 인사들이 참석할 것으로 예상된다.
이번 포럼에는 현직 금융인들이 모여 국내 금융환경 및 감독방향에 대한 정보를 공유할 수 있는 자리도 마련된다.
권 원장은 또 “금융양극화 해소와 금융소비자 보호 강화에 역량을 집중하겠다”며 이를 위한 규제와 감독에 대한 적극적 협조를 요청할 예정이라고 밝혔다.
(코리아헤럴드 김주연 기자)