Compliance professionals in Singapore’s financial services industry are faced with opportunities and challenges alike in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape. In an era of rapid technological advancements in the financial services industry and the promulgation of new regulations, proficient compliance professionals are essential to navigating a complex environment, and in striking a balance between growth, innovation, regulatory compliance, and robust risk management.
Laws against anti-money laundering and other financial crimes, and the penalties for non-compliance, have resulted in the immense importance placed on compliance professionals to upskill themselves so as to grasp the ins and outs of latest compliance practices.
Such is the motivation of a recent graduand of WMI’s Graduate Diploma in Compliance in Financial Services, James Wu. James is a Management Consultant – Risk, Regulation & Compliance (SEA) at Accenture Singapore. As James and his cohort of graduands would discover, the rigour of a post-graduate diploma curriculum is no mean feat for a working adult but reaps abundant rewards.
We speak with James to uncover his learning journey and how he went from learner to trailblazer at work.
Lessons straight from industry head honchos
“Hence, it was really enriching to learn from senior compliance leaders such as Loretta Yuen, who imparted valuable lessons about retail banking and fintech regulation. She went the extra mile by sharing her years of experience and the accompanying war stories as the Head of Group Legal and Compliance at OCBC bank, and I was thrilled to be able to interact and discourse with such seasoned and highly respected professionals in the industry.”
WMI’s faculty includes a range of experienced compliance industry specialists and leaders who boast expertise in the area. Participants can learn from senior leaders who can impart deep domain knowledge to provide a structured educational progression.
Gaining an invaluable network
James notes that his cohort included learners from a diverse range of financial services professional backgrounds, including legal, compliance, risk, digital strategy, and audit functions, where he has benefited from peer-to-peer learning, networks and friendships fostered across institutions.
“We have a wide spectrum of professionals in the industry. I recall having peers from the brick-and-mortar banks, fintech companies, exchanges, wealth and asset management houses. Collectively, there were a lot of interesting conversations, including the unique challenges faced in their respective organisational environment.”
The diversity in perspectives and insights help participants expand beyond their own experience and adopt a top-level, multi-disciplinary approach to topics. At work, such a range of viewpoints is appreciated, yet often overlooked, when engaging multiple departments and teams.
At WMI’s Advanced Programmes, participants further apply their interdisciplinary interactions to solve real-world case studies and problems. As James notes, “Within the classroom setting, having participants coming from such diversified backgrounds, it naturally forms a microcosm of the compliance ecosystem; you get to understand how the different pieces of [compliance] work carried out by various functions add up together. This, in turn, allows you to get a nice, holistic view of how compliance is done at the macro-level within the financial services sector”.
Empowered for Success
For James, completing the Graduate Diploma programme from WMI has brought about efficiencies and tangible improvements in his compliance work by transferring what was taught onto his projects and his presentation delivery.
“In my actual project at work, I was able to apply the course learnings directly to a substantial level, and from time to time I would even check back to the course materials to reinforce my understanding of the compliance frameworks and terminologies,” says James.
“In the midst of preparing for presentations and proposals, I was also able to lean into some of the materials and teachings from the programmes. It helped a lot in my presentation delivery. As a result of this, we also gained additional traction in client conversations.”
James has since taken on more impactful ventures and higher-stake projects at work, and he attributes his growth to his learning journey.
The sweet spot between work and upskilling
Staying committed to lifelong learning while dedicating oneself to work requires immense dedication and many of WMI’s participants do so to stay at the forefront of what they believe is essential.
In recognising the challenge of attending classes and studying whilst keeping up with the pressing demands of your full-time work, WMI’s Advanced Compliance Programmes are structured into modules of two to three days on average and spaced apart across several weeks to allow participants to upskill themselves while minimally disrupting their work commitments.
“The spaced-out format of the programme gave me the perfect balance as I was able to integrate my learning across several weeks and apply the knowledge gained,” attests James.
This programme equips students with the full range of skills and competencies across all the Compliance job families identified in the IBF National Skills Framework for Financial Services. The Graduate Diploma in Compliance empowers learners to master a comprehensive range of Compliance disciplines covering Regulatory Advisory, Financial Crimes Compliance, Compliance Analytics, Monitoring, Surveillance and Testing, and includes a Capstone project with industry mentoring to tackle real-life industry problems.
Graduates of the Graduate Diploma in Compliance in Financial Services programme will earn a WMI qualification and are eligible to apply for IBF Advanced certifications in the relevant Compliance job families.