SEOUL, Jun 13 (Yonhap) The country's major companies are required to disclose how much their executives are paid annually as part of a broader move to bolster corporate transparency and shareholders' rights, the financial regulator said Thursday.

Under a revised bill on the capital market slated to take effect in September, local firms should disclose the annual salaries of their registered executives when they exceed 500 million won (US$438,600), according to the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

South Korean companies currently make only executives' average annual salary open to the public. Annual paychecks of around 600 executives at 200 large companies are expected to be revealed under the revised bill.
Critics, however, have claimed that non-registered executives are not obligated to follow the revised rule, including Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group.

There have been growing calls in the country to overhaul the compensation system for corporate executives as owners of the nation's big business groups, known as chaebol, and some chief executive officers of big companies are excessively paid, thus widening unfair pay gaps with lower employees.

According to the data compiled by research service firm CXO Institute, registered executives at Samsung Electronics Co., the world's top smartphone, memory chip and flat-panel TV maker, received 10.9 billion won in annual paychecks on average in 2011.

SK Innovation Co., the nation's leading oil refiner, ranked second with 4.6 billion won, and the country's top mobile operator SK Telecom Co. trailed with 3.8 billion won, according to the data.

The FSC added the revised bill also paved the way for local brokerage firms to grow into big investment banks. With an equity capital of more than 3 trillion won, they can start what's called a prime brokerage business, in which they offer services needed for mergers and acquisitions, and hedge fund deals.

Five South Korean securities firms, including KDB Daewoo Securities Co., Samsung Securities Co. and Woori Investment & Securities Co., are currently qualified.

The regulator added it will expand surveillance on non-listed firms to curb backdoor listings and other unlawful activities on the local stock market, including the use of secret corporate information and filing false data.

Spain, a bridge to Latin America

mapa espana latinoamericaSpain has invested heavily in Latin America. During the last few decades, its companies have become some of the biggest investors in the continent, making Spain the most important investor in the region immediately after the United States. In addition, Spain has always been essential in the relations between Europe and Latin America.

For that reason, the Chamber will make one of its most important core activities the creation of a commercial and cultural links...