The regulatory landscape for crypto companies in South Korea is getting rockier, but more and more regulators in the nation are quitting their jobs to take roles at fintech, crypto platforms, statistics have revealed.
According to Maeil Kyungjae, a role at a regulator used to be considered a plum role, with offices once called “the jobs of the gods” in South Korea. But recently, many such posts have turned their backs, listening to the calls of headhunter agencies that have set out in search of their expertise.
The media company said that “this year alone” at least 28 people have left their jobs at institutions such as the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) this year.
Citing data compiled by the political committee of the National Assembly, the newspaper reported that two of the highest (executive) workers left the FSS for other posts this year, along with three senior managers, 11 middle managers, nine junior managers and one junior employee.
The committee also found that one-third of the 84 people who had quit the service since February 2017 were immediately employed elsewhere – effectively recruited from the private sector.
And the fintech and crypto worlds are proving to be enticing employers for FSS employees: Senior members of the fintech department and the service’s financial education department have joined crypto operators and fintech giant Kakao Pay this year.
A large number of other former FSS employees have also joined the conventional financial industry, joining companies run by conglomerates such as Samsung, Hyundai and banking giant Kookmin. The legal industry has also created fertile hiring grounds for FSS employees.
MPs criticised an attempt by a deputy FSS office manager to join the market-leading crypto exchange Upbit in May, stating that such moves risk “dulling the edge of the regulatory sword” and warning that “strong links” between crypto industry companies and regulators could harm South Korean society.
The FSS is just one of the bodies tasked with overseeing the crypto and blockchain sector and has been involved in major policy decisions.
But not only the FSS has suffered personnel losses of this kind. In April, a senior Justice Department prosecutor was thwarted when he tried to join an unnamed crypto exchange – and eventually ended up without a job.