Technology jobs aside, large banks don’t often hire people who haven’t worked for large banks before. And there are still fewer case of them elevating a non-bank hire into a senior rank.
Tiak-Peow Phua is one of the exceptions. He joined Standard Chartered in Singapore earlier this month as an executive director in the compliance department, focused on global regulatory reforms. His online profile doesn’t list any prior jobs at banks.
What makes Phua so special? It’s mainly his experience at a major financial regulator. Phua was a deputy director in the capital markets department at the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 2009 to 2013.
Although Phua’s exact remit at Stan Chart is unclear, it is likely to be at a strategic policy-making level. He is an expert in international OTC derivatives reform, for example, having helped MAS implement new polices in this field.
“Banks in Asia definitely see experience at a regulator as a big plus point for roles that either face off to a regulator or deal with regulatory policy,” says Pathay Singh, managing director of recruiters The Compliance Grid.
“After some time working at a regulator it’s assumed you have the experience of seeing things from a regulatory perspective and can apply this within a bank, resulting in a reduction in regulatory risk,” adds Singh.
Phua began his career in the public sector, working for International Enterprise Singapore, a government agency that promotes international trade, according to his profile. But he also has private-sector experience.
Before moving to Stan Chart, Phua spent three years and seven months at information provider Markit, where he was APAC head of MarkitSERV, a product that provides end-to-end processing and workflow solutions in OTC trading.
His stint there would have also boosted his chances of working in banking. “For senior compliance roles, banks prefer a combination of commercial and regulatory experience,” says Singh. “Communication skills and commercial awareness are still the higher priorities in my opinion.”
This is not the only recent senior compliance hire in Asia lately. As we reported in May, DBS has recruited PwC partner – and former senior police officer – Chris Wilson as its group head of financial crime.
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