Korea's national pension fund needs to rigorously exercise its shareholder rights as it is along-term investor with massive assets under management, its headsaid Thursday.
Controversy has heated up over whether pension funds should exercise their shareholder rights in the country's family-ownedconglomerates since Kwak Seung-joon, a key presidential aide,brought up the issue last month.
"Exercising shareholder rights is a global trend and the essence of capitalism. The National Pension Service has theneed to review positively the exercise of its shareholder rights,"NPS Chairman Jun Kwang-woo said.
Jun said the NPS, which has 330 trillion won ($303.6 billion) in assets, has an obligation to preserve and boost the value of thefund under management.
"As the NPS is a long-term investor, it cannot help but having an interest in whether companies operate their business with asense of responsibility," he said.
Kwak argued that pension funds should start exercising their shareholder rights more actively to prevent large companies fromfalling into complacency, sparking complaints from the business community.
The head of the Presidential Council for Future and Vision said public funds could serve as a "catalyst" for the South Koreaneconomy in improving corporate governance as they could work as acounterbalance to powerful conglomerates.
But the business circle claimed that the move could hamper the independence of private companies and the government could wieldits influence through pension funds.