[Reporter's Notebook] Is 'Mofia' always bad for lobby groups? - The Korea Times
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[Reporter's Notebook] Is 'Mofia' always bad for lobby groups?


gettyimagesbank
gettyimagesbank

By Kim Bo-eun

Criticism has always existed over the dominance of ex-finance ministry officials in key positions in the financial sector.

A term has even been coined and in use for some years in reference to this ― Mofia, which is a combination of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and mafia.

Former finance ministry officials not only sit in the chief positions of state-run financial institutions, but also banks and even interest groups.

Whenever a ministry official is nominated for the chief position, there is a strong internal backlash.

Employees take issue with "parachuting" and state that these figures are not appropriate for leadership of their institutions given their lack of inside knowledge and expertise.

They say it is demotivating to see government figures picked over internal figures, as this demonstrates the limit to where internal figures are able to climb the corporate ladder.

The issue has been reignited at a time when major interest groups in the financial sector wait for their chief positions to be determined.

There are separate lobby groups representing banks, brokerages, card firms, life and non-life insurers.

The seats are considered up for grabs by ministry officials.

But at the same time, in many cases, the institutions want government officials to as their leaders, believing the officials are able to use their ties with government figures to protect their respective institutions from government influence, given the finance industry is a highly regulated sector.

There are also expectations that finance ministry officials may be able to better voice the stance of the financial sector, given the industry has mostly been overlooked by the past and incumbent governments.

Blind opposition will likely not be the answer. Of course, this is not to say that the underqualified figures should be given positions.

Given the figures undergo strict screening processes to determine that they possess the necessary expertise to carry out their roles, whatever the position may be, it may not be the worst-case scenario to have a government figure in the top seat.



gettyimagesbank
gettyimagesbank

By Kim Bo-eun

Criticism has always existed over the dominance of ex-finance ministry officials in key positions in the financial sector.

A term has even been coined and in use for some years in reference to this ― Mofia, which is a combination of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and mafia.

Former finance ministry officials not only sit in the chief positions of state-run financial institutions, but also banks and even interest groups.

Whenever a ministry official is nominated for the chief position, there is a strong internal backlash.

Employees take issue with "parachuting" and state that these figures are not appropriate for leadership of their institutions given their lack of inside knowledge and expertise.

They say it is demotivating to see government figures picked over internal figures, as this demonstrates the limit to where internal figures are able to climb the corporate ladder.

The issue has been reignited at a time when major interest groups in the financial sector wait for their chief positions to be determined.

There are separate lobby groups representing banks, brokerages, card firms, life and non-life insurers.

The seats are considered up for grabs by ministry officials.

But at the same time, in many cases, the institutions want government officials to as their leaders, believing the officials are able to use their ties with government figures to protect their respective institutions from government influence, given the finance industry is a highly regulated sector.

There are also expectations that finance ministry officials may be able to better voice the stance of the financial sector, given the industry has mostly been overlooked by the past and incumbent governments.

Blind opposition will likely not be the answer. Of course, this is not to say that the underqualified figures should be given positions.

Given the figures undergo strict screening processes to determine that they possess the necessary expertise to carry out their roles, whatever the position may be, it may not be the worst-case scenario to have a government figure in the top seat.


Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr

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