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FSC struggles with prolonged personnel vacuum

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Published : 2014-07-21 20:16
Updated : 2014-07-21 20:16

South Korea’s financial industry is more than ready to see some new blood at the Financial Services Commission ― the decision-making body at the nation’s financial watchdog ― but it seems like the personnel vacuum won’t be filled for some time.

The biggest reason is the sheer lack of candidates, industry watchers say.

The government is pressed to select professionals with ample expertise, but there are actually few left to choose from when excluding officials who have served at key ministries, namely the Finance Ministry. Local government organs were explicitly instructed to omit such individuals after the Sewol ferry disaster in April, mostly due to poor safety conditions caused by cronyism among officials.

The FSC currently has vacancies in three director-level posts, including a seat as a permanent member of the commission’s standing committee.

Now the commission’s former spokesperson Doh Kyu-sang, who was transferred to the SME policy bureau earlier this month, is still maintaining his post as spokesperson until a successor is named.

“This has been inevitable since it takes over two months to issue a job opening and select the proper candidate,” said an FSC official.

No official recruitment activity has been noted so far.

As one of the nation’s top financial authorities, the FSC has been known to issue collective personnel announcements for the sake of efficiency and to avoid confusion at its affiliated committees, and above all, in the local financial industry.

This year, it has been unable to do so on account of a series of drawbacks, from the massive personal information leak in the first quarter to the Sewol disaster in the second quarter.

Faced with vehement public backlash regarding the government’s slack response system and the favoritism extended to former officials that many believe led to safety hazards responsible for the Sewol tragedy, Cheong Wa Dae repeatedly demanded that public organizations refrain from recruiting former public servants ― the so-called “mofia,” a coinage made by combining “ministry” and “mafia.”

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