Sat, Nov 29, 2008 - Page 1 News List

Sean Chen takes over as chairman of FSC

TRICKY SITUATION? One analyst pointed out that Chen may face a conflict of interest as a former head of a bank in his new post as head of the nation’s financial regulator

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) yesterday appointed SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (永豐金控) chairman Sean Chen to succeed Gordon Chen (陳樹) as chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC).

A press release issued by the Government Information Office (GIO) last night said that Gordon Chen had submitted his letter of resignation on Nov. 19.

The press release said Gordon Chen decided to resign because the FSC’s handling of the impact of the global financial crisis on local markets had received “neither applause nor support.”

The press release did not elaborate on the reasons for him stepping down.

Gordon Chen said he had failed to fulfill his own expectations although he and his FSC colleagues had made every effort to tackle financial problems, the press release said.

Liu was quoted by the press release as praising Gordon Chen for his hard work to maintain the stability of financial markets.

The press release said Liu approved the resignation because Gordon Chen has very high self-expectations and had insisted on resigning.

“Liu reluctantly approved the resignation after more than a week of consideration,” the press release said.

Sean Chen assumed the chairmanship of SinoPac Holdings in June.

Before that, he had served as chairman of Taiwan Cooperative Bank, chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange and vice minister of finance under the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and Democratic Progressive Party governments.

Analysts yesterday said the new commission chairman was “experienced, with a complete financial background and expertise.”

Although surprised by the outgoing chairman’s sudden resignation, Hsu Chen-ming (??, president of the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance, said that Sean Chen had worked as the head of the commission’s banking bureau when it was previously under the finance ministry.

He would thus be familiar with the commission’s operations and management.

Norman Yin (殷乃平), professor of the finance and banking department at National Chengchi University, said he was not surprised by Gordon Chen’s resignation “since his performance in the past few months was lackluster.”

He said he expected Sean Chen to do a better job.

In addition to Sean Chen’s financial expertise, Yin said he expected the new chairman’s legal expertise would help enhance the commission’s policy-making efficiency and execution.

“[Sean] Chen is a suitable choice and was the first choice when [the KMT government] was looking for candidates for the FSC position a few months ago,” Yin said.

Sean Chen may face some pressure, in terms of a conflict of interest, since he has gone from being the chairman of SinoPac Financial Holdings to be the head of the nation’s financial regulator, which oversees domestic banks, Yin said.

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