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‘Mofia’ ban plan faces skepticism

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Published : 2014-04-29 20:52
Updated : 2014-04-29 20:52

Former high-ranking government officials should be banned from taking influential posts in financial companies, the government decided in the aftermath of the ferry sinking.

But without an alternative plan, this sudden and restrictive measure may also cause side effects, such as a personnel vacuum or nonprofessionals taking key posts, observers pointed out.

The government recently stated that former ranking officials of the Finance Ministry and the Financial Supervisory Service should be banned from taking posts in related financial organizations, according to officials Tuesday.

Such officials are often referred to as “mofia,” a derogatory term derived from :Ministry of Finance” and “Mafia.”

Former officials of the ministry, the FSS or the Financial Services Commission may legally be reemployed in affiliated financial organizations, unless their business territories overlap.

“Following the ferry disaster, the public poured its anger upon the government, blaming the inefficiency of its affiliated organizations and officials,” said an official of the FSS.

“Under these circumstances, the personnel transfers of ranking financial officials to (financial companies) are efficiently paralyzed and this is likely to continue for a while.”

It was suggested that the sinking of the ferry Sewol was partly attributable to the slack operations of supervisory organizations such as the Korea Shipping Association and the Korea Register of Shipping, both of which were chaired by former government officials.

This reignited the dispute that government-appointed leaders largely hamper the operating efficiency as they lack professional knowledge as well as dedication to the organization.

A series of financial accidents, such as the massive leak of personal information earlier this year, also led to criticism that former government officials should no longer be given priority for chairman posts in affiliated bodies.

State-run companies such as the General Insurance Association of Korea and the Korea Housing-Finance Corp. are therefore to remain without a chief as most of the rumored candidates were former Finance Ministry officials.

Some financial industry officials, however, expressed concerns that the strict personnel ban may also have side effects.

The state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. recently received a new audit inspector who was a regional official of the ruling Saenuri Party, with no experience in the financial sector.

“It is understandable that the government should want to end the mofia personnel custom but it should also make sure that inexperienced, unprofessional figures (do not) take the posts instead,” said an official of a state-run bank, refusing to be identified.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)

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