FSS to push exchange, financial companies to support fintech
The Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) will lean on the Korea Exchange and financial institutions to support fintech companies.
It should become easier for companies to upgrade from the Korea New Exchange (Konex), a securities market for small and medium-sized enterprises and venture companies, to the Kosdaq, FSS Governor Jeong Eun-bo said.
Konex, which is operated by the Korea Exchange, was founded in 2013 and has been struggling in recent years due the lack of listings and the challenges faced by companies seeking to advance to the Kosdaq, which has higher liquidity and better name recognition.
The FSS "will actively cooperate with relevant organizations to improve regulations on transferring," Jeong said at a press conference held in Mapo District, western Seoul, on Thursday.
Kyung In-tae, CEO of Coupang Pay, attended the event.
Jeong said heavily-traded stocks should be allowed to go from Konex to Kosdaq even if they do not meet the requirements for transfer. The FSS is pushing to have the 20 percent on-year sales growth requirement reduced to 10 percent.
In a statement, the regulator said it will encourage financial companies to invest in smaller fintech firms. It added that the FSS will develop an information-sharing system and hold town hall-style meetings among financial organizations, financial companies and fintech firms.
"Development of financial technology is no longer on option for the revolution of the finance industry as we enter a major digital transformation era," said Jeong.
He said the FSS wants to prevent a repeat of the Mergepoint debacle, in which the coupon-issuing company ran into trouble last year when it suddenly changed the terms of the scrip outstanding.
"Since fintech industry landed in Korea in 2014, there are now around 500 relevant companies with around 16,000 employees. Funds invested has grown to 2 trillion won ($1.7 billion)." Jeong added, "Among 94 financial technology unicorns worldwide, there is only one financial technology unicorn from Korea. There are concerns innovation in domestic financial technology services is stagnating."
Viva Republica, which runs Toss Bank, is the only Korean fintech unicorn from Korea, according to the FSS.