The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

FSS chief says social responsibility required of foreign financial firms

By Kim Yon-se

Published : March 8, 2012 - 18:13

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The nation’s chief financial regulator said the foreign investment community needed 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.
Kwon Hyouk-se. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea herald) Kwon Hyouk-se. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea herald)

“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 (cynthiak@heraldcorp.com)