The Korea Herald

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지나쌤

Top regulator promises transparency under FTAs

By Kim Yon-se

Published : March 9, 2012 - 19:23

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The chief financial regulator pledged to improve Korea’s supervisory systems to promote a level playing field for local and foreign players.

At a forum for foreign financial firms in Seoul, Friday, Financial Supervisory Service Gov. Kwon Hyouk-se stressed the necessity of bolstering regulatory transparency in “the era of free trade pacts.”

His promise came during his speech at the 4th annual event, dubbed “FSS Speaks,” on the nation’s regulatory policy directions.

“One (policy) is steps we are taking to move toward a more even regulatory environment without making any distinction between domestic and foreign, especially in light of Korea’s free trade agreements with the EU and the U.S.,” he told participants.

Kwon said the FSS will “refrain from informal or unofficial supervision guidance” to improve the transparency of its regulatory activities.

“We are also extending the comment period to better ensure foreign financial firms are heard in our rule-making process.”

In addition, Kwon expressed his wish to upgrade Korea’s financial industry to the level of its manufacturing industry, which holds global competitiveness.

“What we now hope to see are the FTAs pushing Korea’s financial services industry to the next level,” he said.
Financial Supervisory Service Govenor Kwon Hyouk-se addresses the “FSS Speaks” forum for foreign financial firms held at a hotel in Seoul on Friday. (FSS) Financial Supervisory Service Govenor Kwon Hyouk-se addresses the “FSS Speaks” forum for foreign financial firms held at a hotel in Seoul on Friday. (FSS)

For development of the local market, he said financial authorities would create a more enticing business climate for foreign financial firms.

Meanwhile, he asked foreign players to support the nation’s capital volatility measures.

“Markets (including Korea) that are open and dependent on global finance are especially vulnerable to the vagaries of global markets,” he said.

Regarding the oversight of foreign bank branches, the governor said FSS inspectors’ probe will be focused on large investment banks rather than smaller banks.

Meanwhile, Kwon called for foreign financial firms to fulfill their social obligations as much as their Korean counterparts.

“I think financial firms ― domestic and foreign ― can step up to meet as they seek ways to contribute to the sense of community all of us are trying to promote,” he said.

The FSS Speaks 2012, whose chair is the nation’s regulator, drew wide interest as more global investors shift their focus to Asia in view of the eurozone debt crisis.

Economic counselors representing 11 countries took part in the event.

FSS spokeswoman Kim Soo-mi said a high turnout of senior executives from their respective headquarters or Asia-Pacific regional headquarters bore testimony to a great level of interest in the event.

Among the figures were Stephen D. Lackey, chairman of BNY Mellon Bank Asia Pacific and Wang Li Li, senior executive vice president of ICBC.

This year, as many as 320 officials and executives from financial companies, foreign media and international credit rating agencies attended the forum.

“The number of attendees is growing every year since its initiation in 2009,” Kim said.

For the break-out session in the afternoon, lively discussions took place regarding major issues and concerns associated with FTAs including IT outsourcing, outsourcing and sharing back-office functions, and information sharing.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)