[EDITORIALS]Oppose shareholder disclosure

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[EDITORIALS]Oppose shareholder disclosure

The corporate governance and cross-affiliate shareholdings of large business groups have been disclosed. The Fair Trade Commission has collected information on shares held by group chairmaen or by the chairmen’s relatives, including first and third cousins, and put out a comprehensive report. The commission stressed that the disclosure is intended to strengthen the market watch function of investors by providing them with detailed information on large businesses. But something does not quite make sense here. The information revealed yesterday is not something that the large businesses are hiding.
They are readily available to any interested investor on business statements of listed companies or audit statements of non-listed companies. The government need not come forward to disclose them. Also, the disclosed information does not have a direct impact on the public’s life as to require the government to come forward to make them available. Sure, the disclosure was made without giving anyone’s names. Nevertheless, the disclosure carries the potential risk of infringing on a person’s privacy because one is related to a group’s leader.
The holdings of shares by family members of a group leader are made within the limit allowed by the cross-affiliate shareholding cap imposed by law. Then, why does the government go ahead and disclose their share holdings? What is the government’s intention? Isn’t the government attempting to fan anti-jaebeol, or big business, sentiment by showing that its leaders control affiliates through cross-affiliate shareholdings, although they own only a small portion of shares? By doing so, isn’t the government preparing to step up the pressure on large businesses?
The law should deal sternly with illegalities and irregularities. But legitimate behavior ― such as possessing shares of a company ― should not be subject to public disclosure.
Furthermore, we wonder whether the commission has really thought of the consequence the stark disclosure would have on corporate activities and the national economy. Businesses are working hard to improve transparency, considered a key to alleviating anti-business sentiment. Rather than extending a hand to businesses, the government is stoking anti-business sentiments and attempting to strengthen its control on them. It won’t help enhance national competitiveness.

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