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Top banking watchdog in town. You too can quiz him

Dr Jun Kwang-wooDr Jun Kwang Woo, the Chairman of the Korean Financial Services Commission, is in Paris and London this week for a range of meetings, including the UK finance minister and the FSA.

He will also be speaking to the Korea Discussion Group at Chatham House on Friday afternoon at 4pm. His subject is Korea’s responses to challenges from the global financial markets. The gathering will be chaired by Dr John Llewellyn, Senior Economic Policy Advisor at Lehman Brothers. Interested parties can join the discussion group by pre-registering (details at the bottom of this article). Further background on Dr Jun’s talk:

Developments in international financial markets have brought opportunities for faster growth and expansion. At the same time, developments also mean that the knock-on effects of financial crises spread faster. In this regard, Dr Jun will share his views on changes and challenges facing global financial markets today and elaborate on Korea’s plans to meet these challenges effectively under the new administration.

Dr Jun was appointed Chairman of Korea’s Financial Services Commission, a cabinet-level position, by President Lee in February this year. Previously he was head of Deloitte Korea and served as Korea’s ambassador for international finance (source: JoongAng Ilbo)

No doubt HSBC’s bid for Korea Exchange Bank will loom large in one or more of Dr Jun’s meetings this week: the front-page article in yesterday’s FT that HSBC is getting cold feet about the deal was likely politically timed to coincide with Dr Jun’s visit, but given past pronouncements from Seoul that Lone Star’s involvement with KEB needs to be sorted out first there doesn’t seem to be much wiggle-room without there being a volte-face. However, Dr Jun reportedly made some encouraging noises at a press conference at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club on 29 April.

Other items on the agenda? Given the new “CEO President” administration, expect a message that Korea is open for business and open for investment. Expect some discussion of the Capital Markets Consolidation Act, effective in 2009. The Act was pushed at the KRX / Daewoo Securities investors conference in London two weeks ago (12 May) as a major step forward in the development of the Korean financial services industry1.

Dr Jun can also expect to be asked questions about precisely how foreigner-friendly is the system of Korean financial regulation.

Observations made in the past have concerned:

  1. Demanding requirements in relation to the number of local directors to be appointed
  2. Thorough (over-thorough?) supervision of local operations of foreign banks
  3. A punctilious application of data security standards, possibly stricter than those applying in other markets.

None of these factors, however, seem to stop foreign banks from wanting to do business in Korea, and certainly in respect of the first two, these charges are equally applicable to other jurisdictions past or present. Korean bank supervisors would not be alone in wanting to maintain a close watch on foreign-owned banks which have a significant local market share.

Those wishing to attend the discussion at Chatham House (4:00 – 5:00pm, Friday 30th May) need to pre-register by emailing the Asia programme coordinator, asia [at] chathamhouse [dot] org [dot] uk, giving their name, details of their affiliation and their phone number. Alternatively you can register at the Chatham House website here.


  1. If anyone can lay their hands on a decent summary in English of what the Act does, please let me know. I can’t find anything via the normal internet searches []

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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