Mission, Programs and Activities

Mission of the Seoul Financial Forum

The Seoul Financial Forum (SFF) was founded in October 2001 by a group of leading scholars, policymakers, and professionals drawn together by a strong interest and expertise in finance as well as a shared concern for the continued success of the Korean economy.

The mission of the SFF is to contribute to Korea's sustainable development by helping Korean finance upgrade itself to global standards. In line with this mission, the SFF carries out the following programs and activities.

Programs and Activities

Breakfast Seminars for Members

The SFF conducts one breakfast seminar each month primarily for its members. The purpose of the seminars is not only to develop ideas and strategies for the development of local financial markets but also to monitor the significant developments in both national and international financial markets with either in-house or guest speakers.

The speakers who have participated in these seminars include Professor Ronald McKinnon of Stanford University; Professor Martin S. Feldstein of Harvard University; Professor Barry J. Eichengreen of the University of California, Berkeley; Martin Wolf, Chief Economist at The Financial Times; former U.S. Senator Phil Gramm; and Takumi Shibata, President and CEO of Nomura Asset Management.

Lectures for Members

The SFF presents lectures for members by inviting prominent scholars or eminent policymakers to address major issues facing Korea and the world.

Those who have spoken in this lecture series include Glenn Hubbard, former Chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisors and Dean of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University; Robert Engle, the 2003 Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics; Korea’s Prime Ministers; Governors of the Bank of Korea; Deputy Prime Ministers for Economic Affairs; Ministers of Strategy and Finance; Chairmen of the Financial Services Commission; and Governors of the Financial Supervisory Service.

Public Seminars and Conferences

To strengthen public support for Korea’s efforts for financial reform and disseminate the global trends of financial innovation, the SFF organizes public seminars and conferences. Cases in point are the seminar held in January 2003 to present SFF’s first master plan for Korea to become an International Financial Center for Northeast Asia; the seminar held in September 2008 on “Global Financial Crisis: Challenges and Opportunities for Korea”; and the conferences held in August 2015, 2016 and 2017 on “The Future of Digital Payments: Global Trends and Challenges for Korea.”

Policy Dialogues

To facilitate and intensify communication between the Forum and important policymakers/regulators in the public sector, the Forum conducts policy dialogues with both high- and working-level government policymakers, regulators and national legislators. Government officials that have participated in these dialogues include officials from the President’s Office (the Blue House), the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

Research Projects and Internal Workshops

When important economic and financial policy issues emerge, the Forum presents its position papers and recommendations. To this end, the Forum carries out research projects either by its members or jointly with outside experts. The research findings are reviewed by Forum members before they are made public. When necessary, the Forum conducts retreats to review not only important public policy issues but also its own activities. These retreats are usually held at locations away from Seoul.

Major reports published by the Forum through these processes include “Korea as an International Financial Center in Asia: Vision and Strategy” (2002), “Korea as an International Financial Hub: Policy Recommendations for Strengthening and Implementing the Government’s Roadmap” (2004), “London as a Global Financial Center: 2006 SFF London Study Tour Report” (2007), “Korea as an International Financial Center: Policy Recommendations for the Incoming Lee Myung-bak Government” (2008), and “Korea’s New Economic Take-Off Critically Depends on the Financial Reform It Will Implement” (2013).

International Conferences

To obtain support from the international community for Korea’s financial reform efforts and gain strategic insights from foreign experts, the Forum organizes international conferences in partnership with major organizations abroad.

The Forum has also supported international conferences organized by other organizations. These conferences include the "FT Asian Financial Center Summit," "Terrapinn’s Funds World Korea," and "The Economist Bellwether Series: Korea."

International Networking

To network with the international financial community, the Forum actively takes part in various seminars and conferences held outside of Korea. In line with this policy, the Forum’s Chair has taken part in seminars organized by The Chatham House, The Financial Times and The Pacific Pension Institute in the U.S.

In addition, to learn about the financial systems, markets, and regulatory regimes in major global financial centers, the Forum organized study tours to Shanghai in 2003 and 2014, Hong Kong in 2005 and 2014, and London in 2006.

Furthermore, the Forum has conducted in-depth discussions with prominent foreign experts and professional groups visiting Korea. Individuals and groups with whom the Forum has exchanged views to date include Janet Yellen, President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Jacob Lew, US Treasury Secretary; and delegations from the U.S. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).