[EDITORIALS]Parachutes are still opening

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[EDITORIALS]Parachutes are still opening

So-called “parachute appointments” have once again emerged as a problem in the nation’s financial sector. Of the 89 people who have retired from the Financial Supervisory Service since 2002, more than half are now employed, either as internal auditors or executive directors, at financial institutions and companies subject to the financial watchdog’s oversight. The service explains that there is nothing illegal about their new employment, because financial institutions prefer former officials from the Financial Supervisory Service who, needless to say, are experts in finance. Nonetheless, the situation poses problems. We question how the service can audit financial institutions when people, who as recently as up to a few days ago were colleagues?
The Financial Supervisory Service is not the only government body implicated in “parachute appointments.” Former officials at the Ministry of Finance and Economy and other powerful central and local government agencies have found post-retirement jobs with companies overseen by their agencies.
The 17 appointments at public companies made by the Roh Moo-hyun administration were all parachute appointments. Seven appointments were to the leadership post and ten to auditor positions.
Of course, we cannot claim sweepingly that all appointments at public companies were insider favoritism. There are instances where the appointment was made through open competition or cases where talented government officials were recruited after their retirement. But the reality is that companies do scout officials from the Finance Ministry and the Financial Supervisory Service in order to be in good favor with those powerful agencies. For their part, government officials promote their interests by soliciting post-retirement jobs for their seniors or former colleagues.
We can’t expect fair and objective oversight under such conditions. Not only do these “parachute appointments” erode the morale of employees at public institutions, they also cut away at national competitiveness. They also feed corruption in the financial sector. Such appointments should be eliminated and public institutions should keep free from government influence. The ethics law for government officials, which has many loopholes and inefficiencies, should be more strictly applied.
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