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SOUTH KOREA

The Financial Services Commission and the Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea's financial regulators, have maintained recommendations for lenders to limit dividend payouts rebutting criticism that it constituted excessive government intervention.

  • "The recommendation for a dividend reduction is a temporary measure to overcome the pandemic-induced crisis. Most foreign financial authorities are taking such action," the regulators said in a press release.
  • In January the FSC advised banks to bring their dividend payout ratios below 20% to maintain the minimum amount of capital needed to absorb the losses they could incur as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Over the past five years, major banks in South Korea paid out an average of 24% of their profits in dividends. The recommendation for the 20% cap will remain in place until the end of June.
  • In response to criticism that the stress tests were too strict they said the testing was "reasonable and objective" and that they had applied the analysis method used by the IMF.
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