Research Staff

Research Staff

Lee, Sungbok Senior Research Fellow Financial Services Industry


Ph.D. in Economics (December 2010), Texas AM University, College Station, TX, USA.
B.S. in Economics (February 2000), Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Korea
Professional Experience
Korea Capital Market Institute (October 2012 ~ )
Financial Supervisory Service, Korea (January 2000 ~ September 2012)



Current State of Virtual Assets: Issuance and Trading / Aug. 10, 2021
Over the past eight years and three months, a total of 8,950 virtual assets have been registered with virtual asset exchanges in the world, of which almost 40% have ended up being deregistered. Around 90.5% of all deregistered virtual assets disappeared from the market within three years, whereas quite a few got deregistered after more than five years from their registration with exchanges. In dollar terms, the aggregate value of virtual assets hits a record high of $2,534.9 billion in May 2021, with the total volume of daily trading reaching as high as $601.6 billion in April 2021. However, the aggregate value plummeted to $1,437.2 billion and the total volume of daily trading also declined to $151.6 billion as of June 27 2021. What is notable is that a small number of virtual assets account for the majority of both the aggregate value of virtual assets and daily trading volume, respectively. Meanwhile, the daily trading volume of non-minable and pre-mined virtual assets has recently surpassed that of the minable whose prices have already set at a higher level, driving price fluctuations of virtual assets.
Financial Consumer Protection Act and Issues in Financial Product Advisory Business / Mar. 23, 2021
The Financial Consumer Protection Act will take into effect on March 25, 2021. Given the decade-long legislation process from consultation and enactment to promulgation and commencement, the act is expected to contribute greatly to bolstering financial consumer protection in Korea. In particular, the act introduces financial product intermediary business and financial product advisory business, both of which are expected to widen consumer choices and curb mis-selling of financial products. Also projected is a significant structural change in the market for financial products. One concern is that the potential regulatory gap between financial product intermediary business and financial product advisory business may lead to some issues related to regulatory arbitrage and fair competition. This necessitates close monitoring on any change the law will bring to the market.
Directions of Risk Assessment and Presentation for Financial Investment Products / Oct. 13, 2020
Korea recently introduced a regulatory duty to provide a financial investment product’s risk level as one of the key information, which aims to help financial consumers to have an intuitive understanding of the risk of principal losses inherent in the financial investment product. Under the duty, a regulated financial firm which sells investment products or provides investment advice to its clients should assess a product’s risk level in advance. However, the conduct of calculating risk level has become a mere formality: In practice, most firms have set out neither objective, reasonable computation methodology nor evaluation procedure, so they have simply classified risk levels based on the examples presented in the SRO regulation which was abolished about 10 years ago. Therefore, rather than admitting the current practices as it is, it is necessary to set out a clear and objective methodology suitable for the domestic situation by referring to the EU case for PRIIPs.
Needs for Thematic Reviews of Investor Suitability and Regulatory Improvements / Jul. 07, 2020
A suitability test serves to enhance investors’ capabilities of self-protection and self-responsibility, while making retail banks and investment brokers remain vigilant of any potential mis-selling. However, according to the criteria, method, and procedure of evaluating an investor’s suitability, errors can occur in the evaluation and the results can be manipulated in any cases. This was what actually happened in Korea’s recent derivative-linked funds (DLF) and Lime fund mis-selling scandals: Many of the sellers of those funds were found to have improperly evaluated investor suitability and manipulated the results. This necessitates a thorough review of how retail banks and investment brokers comply with the regulatory requirements for investor suitability. Also necessary is to supplement the framework of investor suitability to meet the non-face-to-face environment in the preparation for the coming era of contactless financial services amid the lingering Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside, it should be better to allow financial firms to have access to clients’ own financial information (MyData) for testing investor suitability more completely.

Seminar Presentation