New FSS Gov. Yoon to Safeguard Independence of FSS
New FSS leader also vows not to be swayed by interference and take preventive actions to prevent crises
Gov. Yoon Suk-heun delivers his inaugural speech at the auditorium of the Financial Supervisory Service(FSS) on May 8. (Photos: FSS)
New Gov. Yoon Suk-heun of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said crisis management is a major function of the FSS and it should fight off any financial crises before they become problems, and also to play a key role in taking care of such crises when they become bona fide.
He said the government will be able to issue correct financial policies and financial firms can go all out to develop new financial products and services for the benefit of financial customers when FSS does its job fully. The FSS has not been able to do its job fully, as it was shaken by various situations in the financial industry, noting excess household debts getting out of hand to threaten the national economy.
He called for an independent FSS to be able to do its fully with no interferences from higher authorities, adding that the FSS should supervise the financial institutions as its name implies.
The head of Korea’s primary financial regulator has reportedly confirmed that the authority will look to ease regulations on domestic cryptocurrency trading.
Speaking to reporters on May 6 after being approved by President Moon Jae-in to lead the FSS, new governor Yoon Suk-heun said the regulator will look at revising some regulations applied to the cryptocurrency market, according to local media reports.
Yoon, a visiting professor at Seoul National University, was nominated by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) Korea’s financial regulator to lead the FSS, which it directs. The new governor is seen as a “reform-minded” activist with experience as a bureaucrat in the country. He told reporters: “Regarding cryptocurrencies, there are some positive aspects…The FSS will collaborate with the FSC when an inspection on policies and financial institutions has different configurations associated with different scopes. FSC inspects policies, while the FSS examines and supervises financial institutions but with the oversight of the FSC.”
As reported in September, the FSS notably issued the ban order to completely curtail initial coin offerings (ICOs) in South Korea. In January, the FSC enforced a ban on all anonymous cryptocurrency trading by mandating among both crypto exchanges and the banks providing services to them the use of real-name trading accounts.
The latter move, seen as a measure that would curb anonymous trading while encouraging KYC-enabled practices in the industry, has dented the market instead.
“Markets expected the introduction of the real-name registration system would have been helpful to revive trading, but these efforts failed as local banks were reluctant to invite more crypto traders,” a Bithumb official said.
Yoon declined to elaborate on the possible regulatory changes the FSS would consider for crypto exchanges when queried by reporters, stating: “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed. We can figure them out but gradually.”
The newly softened stance comes at a time when a group of lawmakers led by a politician from Korea’s ruling party is working on a new bill to legalize ICOs in South Korea after last year’s ban.
New FSS chief Yoon Suk-heun will begin his tenure at the job on Tuesday, May 8. The subject of cryptocurrencies and ICOs are certain to come up again when the Yoon fields questions during a press conference facing local and international media tomorrow.
The FSS was established on Jan. 2, 1999, as Korea’s fully integrated supervisory authority under the Act on the Establishment of Financial Supervisory Organizations (the “Establishment Act”) that the National Assembly approved on Dec. 29, 1997.
Gov. Yoon Suk-heun of FSS, right, shakes hands with Chairman Choi Jong-gu of Financial Services Commission(FSC) during his courtesy call on May 9.