Thanks to his harmonious, well-rounded personality, as well as his expertise in the financial sector, outgoing Vice Minister of Finance William Tseng (曾銘宗) has been made the new chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), his supporters say.
However, Tseng is also known for his cautiousness and conservatism, which could prevent him from being judged an effective chairman by the public or by financial companies, observers say.
Tseng — who is also temporarily taking the position of Taiwan Financial Holding Co (台灣金控) and Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) chairman — yesterday gave a farewell speech to about 20 reporters at the Ministry of Finance, who were waiting to interview him after Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) announced that Tseng was replacing outgoing commission Chairman Chen Yuh-chang (陳裕璋).
“I really appreciate all the support given to be by the media during my term in the ministry over the past five years,” Tseng said.
However, he refused to respond to questions about his new duties and policy priorities at the commission.
“It is not appropriate [to talk about these issues] in terms of either courtesy or legitimacy,” he said, in a show of respect to Chen, who is still in charge of the commission before the handover ceremony takes place tomorrow or Thursday.
Tseng, 54, has been a public servant for more than 10 years. During this time, he has worked in various managerial positions at Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫銀行) and the commission, before being assigned to the position of vice minister of finance in 2008, which also made him the convener of the Stabilization Fund (國家金融安定基金).
Various ministry officials yesterday praised Tseng for his abilities to maintain the stability of the nation’s securities markets when the global financial crisis began in 2008, as well as his ability to protect the management rights of several state-owned banks.
Minister of Finance Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said Tseng had been his best “right-hand man” and assisted him significantly in various tasks since taking the position in June last year.
Nevertheless, Tseng’s characteristic prudence and pragmatism may make him ill-equipped to steer the commission during a time when the financial sector is experiencing difficult times, a finance expert who preferred to remain anonymous said yesterday.
“It will be a challenge for him to oversee the nation’s financial sector because this requires enacting substantial changes in financial laws and the implementation of new policies that will achieve the healthy development of the sector,” the expert said.
Although the expert said he had expected the government would have assigned someone more open-minded to the position, he hopes Tseng will become more flexible and respect market mechanisms when he assumes his new role.