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South Korea's FSS plans comprehensive audit of financial services firms

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South Korea's FSS plans comprehensive audit of financial services firms

South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service plans to launch a comprehensive audit of financial services firms as early as March, The Korea Times reported Jan. 6, citing sources in the industry and the regulator.

The intended audit follows FSS Governor Yoon Suk-heun's statement in 2018 that a comprehensive audit would help discern failures in corporate structures, internal controls, financial health and customer protection.

The audit is expected to take place in March after a personnel reshuffling takes place in the FSS in February. An FSS official confirmed that while the comprehensive audit will take place this year, the timeline and target are yet to be decided. The FSS also denied speculations that it would first screen major insurance companies such as Samsung Life Insurance Co. Ltd. as no decision has been made on the matter.

The comprehensive audit was abolished in 2015. The succeeding partial investigation has elicited criticism from within the FSS. Officials felt that it did not allow for authority figures to be questioned nor provide access to relevant documents, thereby allowing financial services firms to continue to operate without due restraint.

In a comprehensive audit, 30 FSS officials will look into a company's affairs for more than a month and without limitations. A partial audit only requires 10 officials or less to review specified issues in less than two weeks.

As of Jan. 4, US$1 was equivalent to 1,118.30 South Korean won.