The regulatory landscape continues to get rockier for crypto companies in South Korea, but an increasing number of regulators in the nation are quitting their jobs to take up roles with fintech, crypto platforms, statistics have revealed.
According to Maeil Kyungjae, landing a role at a regulator used to be seen as a plum role, with offices once called “the workplaces of the gods” in South Korea. But in recent times, many have been turning their backs on such posts, and are heeding the calls of headhunter agencies who have gone in search of their expertise.
The media outlet said that “this year alone,” at least 28 individuals have moved away from their jobs at bodies like the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) this year.
Quoting data compiled by the National Assembly’s Political Affairs Committee, the newspaper reported that two of the highest-level (executive) workers have quit the FSS for other posts this year, along with three high-level managers, 11 mid-level managers, nine junior managers, and one junior employee.
The committee also revealed that one-third of the 84 people who had quit the service since February 2017 had been employed elsewhere immediately – effectively poached by the private sector.
And the fintech and crypto worlds are proving to be alluring employers for FSS staff: senior members of the service’s fintech department and financial education department have joined crypto operators and the fintech giant Kakao Pay this year.
A large number of other ex-FSS staff have also joined the conventional financial industry, joining firms operated by conglomerates like Samsung, Hyundai, and the banking behemoth Kookmin. The legal industry has also provided fertile hiring grounds for FSS workers.
MPs criticized an attempt by an FSS deputy bureau director to join the market-leading crypto exchange Upbit in May, stating that such moves risked “blunting the edge” of the regulatory sword, and warning that “strong connections” between crypto industry firms and regulatory agencies could cause damage to South Korean society.
The FSS is just one of the bodies tasked with policing the crypto and blockchain sectors, and has been involved in key policy-making decisions.
It is not just the FSS that has suffered staff losses of this kind, however. In April, a high-level prosecutor at the Ministry of Justice was thwarted in an attempt to join an unnamed crypto exchange – eventually ending up without a job.
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