New FSS chief promises consumer protection

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New FSS chief promises consumer protection


Choi Heung-sik

Choi Heung-sik, the new governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, said in an inaugural speech at the agency’s headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul, that he will establish an advisory body dedicated to protecting customers in the local financial markets.

Choi is the first non-bureaucrat governor of the nation’s financial watchdog. Prior to taking up the post Monday, Choi was the head of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and former president of Hana Financial Group.

“The ultimate purpose of financial supervision is consumer protection,” said Choi in his speech. “But many times, financial consumers are in the weak position compared to financial companies due to lack of information and have their rights infringed as they lack bargaining power. For this reason, the FSS must take the lead through mediation and correction [of certain practices] to protect financial consumers and provide damage relief when necessary.”

Choi explained that the new advisory body will be composed of financial experts from different fields including academics and journalists who represent civil society in order to “increase the effectiveness of the body.”

Another task at hand for Choi is to eradicate corporate malpractices such as accounting fraud. Companies such as Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering came under fire in the past few years for cooking the books. Choi said the FSS will have to further develop auditing and inspection abilities to be able to spot any malpractices.

The union of the FSS criticized Choi’s appointment, expressing concerns about his connections with Hana Financial Group.

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