By Park Hyong-ki
Financial regulators here will pursue regulatory reform in line with rapidly changing global markets, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said Wednesday.
At the annual FSS Speaks forum for foreign-invested financial companies in Seoul, FSS Governor Zhin Woong-seob said the regulator will remain "responsive and responsible" to counter growing uncertainty.
"We will reform in tandem with the changes in demand and systems from the financial sector as Korea follows the principles of a market-oriented economy," Zhin told executives from the foreign financial community.
He said the FSS will work with the industry to ease the negative image of foreign-invested financial companies sending dividends to their parent companies overseas.
"Korean banks get as much negative press as their foreign counterparts over dividends," he said. "I think this occurs because of a cultural gap. Companies should independently decide on dividends in accordance with global management standards."
FSS Deputy Governor Koo Kyeong-mo said the regulator does not interfere in companies over dividend payments, and they should pay dividends at an appropriate level that does not undermine their businesses and the market.
"The public understanding over this issue is growing," Koo said. "As long as foreign companies here abide by regulations and operate in the interests of customers, they will gain a positive image."
Koo said the FSS will work with the Financial Services Commission for further deregulation, enabling companies to set up additional branches or offices here.
The FSS will also seek to apply anti-money laundering measures, such as the risk-based approach (RBA) system, differently against banks, asset management companies and insurers.
It said RBA rules that identify potential risks of money laundering and terrorist financing should reflect each sector's different operations and needs.
"We will closely work with the Financial Intelligence Unit to reflect this," Koo said.
Some 360 people from the foreign financial community attended the forum, which aims to boost communications between the regulator and companies.