FSC pledges to step up efforts to grow fintech industry

By Kim Young-won
  • Published : Jan 16, 2020 - 17:23
  • Updated : Jan 16, 2020 - 17:24

With bills on personal data and credit information passing the legislature, Korean financial authority Financial Services Commission and other financial organizations on Thursday vowed to make joint efforts to create a better, fair environment for the financial technology market.

“The FSC hopes to see fintech firms achieve successful results of their businesses this year, and for that, it will not spare efforts to support them,” said Kwon Dae-young, director general of FSC’s financial innovation division, at a meeting to explain the government’s deregulation measures and support policies for fintech companies in Seoul.

“Beyond mobile payments, diverse segments, including insurance, health tech and asset management, will be able to grow exponentially this year (thanks to the recent revisions),” the director general added.

Kwon Dae-young, director general of the Financial Services Commission’s financial innovation division, delivers a speech at a meeting with fintech companies on Thursday in Seoul. (Kim Young-won/The Korea Herald)

The National Assembly passed bills to allow companies and public agencies to utilize private data and credit information for both commercial and research purposes without seeking consent. Under the eased regulations, a company, for example, can collect user information held by different firms and institutes to develop new services and marketing schemes tailored for individual users. In addition, social media accounts, such as Instagram or Facebook, can be used in assessing a person’s credit rate.

The FSC forecast that the bills will help accelerate investments and generate mergers and acquisitions among fintech firms, as the overall fintech market is likely to become much bigger in the coming years.

Aiming to further galvanize the industry, the FSC is working to clear out remaining regulatory hurdles. The revisions of the existing Financial Innovation and Electronic Financial Transactions acts are expected to be passed at the National Assembly after the scheduled general elections in April. When passed, they will allow the emergence of new fintech business models, according to an official from the FSC division.

As announced earlier this week, the FSC has also increased its budget to bolster the fintech industry, from 10 billion won ($8.6 million) in 2019 to 198 billion won this year.

Some of the money will be spent to operate fintech laboratories and accelerator programs, through which startups can receive consulting services to tap into global markets and use office space.

Other ongoing projects at the FSC include those aimed at embracing biometric payment technologies in the fintech market, establishing fintech security guidelines and opening up financial data to third parties. 

Officials from financial authorities and organizations including Financial Services Commission and Korea Exchange participate in a meeting with fintech companies on Thursday in Seoul. (Kim Young-won/The Korea Herald)

“The FSC and its affiliated agencies hold 330 billion pieces of financial data, which have largely been inaccessible so far,” said Kim Jae-dong, an official at FSC’s public data division, adding it will soon complete the first phase of the project to organize public data and open some 200 data sets, or 5,000 points of data, to the public in May.

Together with Fintech Center Korea, an organization affiliated with the FSC to support fintech startups, the FSC plans to hold a trade fair in May and meetings between private companies and state agencies this year.

Participating in the Thursday meeting, an official from Korea Exchange, the nation’s stock market operator, said the bourse operator will keep pursuing efforts to come up with fintech-friendly rules so that more startups can secure funds through initial public offerings. K-Growth, an operator of funds jointly launched by the nation’s financial institutes, including KB Financial Group, and Woori Financial Group also promised to help startups from the early to pre-IPO stages scale up.

By Kim Young-won (