Saturday, March 17, 2007

South Korea to Adopt IFRS

Sources: Korea Moves to Adopt IFRS, Adopting International Financial Standards, Reports on the International Financial Architecture

On March 15, South Korea's financial minister revealed a plan that entails the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards. This is a set of "best practice" standards in financial regulation, supervision, corporate governance, accounting, data transparency, etc., that is established by the International Accounting Standards Board. The adoption of these standards was a move by South Korea towards increasing transparency in its corporate sector and to enhance the confidence of foreign investors. Many foreign investors would like to see more transparency in South Korea's corporate culture, especially in light of the 1997 Asian financial crisis and recent large accounting scandals.
The new standards will add more burdens on domestic corporations in Korea, but the country's financial regulators are convinced that this move will greatly benefit the Korean economy at large. For example, the government hopes that its sovereign credit rating will increase if there is more transparency. To help corporations ease into the new regime, the government has given them a two year grace period to correct any inaccuracies in their accounting.

1) Who else might benefit from greater transparency in Korea's corporate culture?
2) Will increased transparency be enough to buttress foreign investor confidence, or will it take something more? What else might Korea do to boost investor confidence?
3) Are the International Financial Reporting Standards effective in creating the desired transparency?

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