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April 22, 2024

FSS chief vows to boost Korea's attractiveness to investors

PUBLISHED : March 28, 2024 - 17:52

UPDATED : March 28, 2024 - 17:52

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The Financial Supervisory Service Governor Lee Bok-hyun addresses officials and executives from embassies and foreign financial firms at "FSS Speaks 2024" held in Yeouido, Seoul, on Thursday. (Financial Supervisory Service)

Lee Bok-hyun, head of South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service, pledged Thursday to promote "sound and fair finance," aiming to enhance the country's allure as an investment destination for foreign investors.

Lee addressed officials from global financial firms and foreign diplomats during the annual "FSS Speaks" forum held in Seoul under the theme "toward sound and fair finance."

"In striving for this objective, we aim to cultivate market practices that accurately reflect the values of the Korean companies through their financial health and industry outlook," the top financial regulator stressed.

The event marked the 16th edition of the forum, organized by the financial watchdog to facilitate dialogue between the regulatory agency and foreign financial entities operating in South Korea.

In line with efforts to boost market appeal, Lee committed to refining the Corporate Value-Up Program, introduced by regulators in February to address the undervaluation of Korean firms. Amid lukewarm responses from investors, follow-up guidelines are set to be announced in May.

The FSS governor also underscored plans to streamline excessive regulations to foster innovation among financial firms, while warning of stringent measures against activities that jeopardize financial stability and customer trust.

Reflecting on insights from two overseas investor relations events last year, Lee highlighted the "enormous potential and appeal" of South Korea's financial services industry to global investors and urged financial companies to serve as a bridge between Korean and overseas markets.

"To realize its full potential, the capital Korean companies have accumulated over the years will need to be utilized abroad and contribute to global prosperity," he said, asking the global financial companies to "be a valuable bridge between the Korean and overseas markets."

In the main session, Jason Allford, World Bank's special representative to Korea, provided an overview of the global economic landscape. He anticipated that the growth rate would persist at the same sluggish pace observed over the past two years due to global monetary tightening. Allford also warned against the impact of multiple risks of geopolitical tensions, trade fragmentation, food and energy market disruptions and climate.

Meanwhile, Jeong Dae-hee, a senior fellow at the Korea Development Institute, forecasted a modest recovery for the South Korean economy this year, driven by improved trade terms and export growth. However, he cautioned against premature anticipation of a full recovery, citing lingering risks such as elevated inflation and debt levels, sluggish domestic demand, and a downturn in the construction sector that requires resolution.

The FSS outlined four key strategies for its supervisory operations this year, focusing on financial market stability, consumer protection, market order and fostering financial innovation.

The event drew around 230 officials and executives from financial and diplomatic circles, including ambassadors from major countries such as the US, France, China, Japan, the UK, India, Italy and Switzerland.

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)
The Korea Herald

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