OCBC has recruited Beaver Chua, a police officer-turned compliance expert, from HSBC as its head of group policy governance, and anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism Singapore. The hire is a coup for OCBC because competition for senior financial crime professionals is heating up among major banks in the Republic. It also marks the second time in just the past few weeks that OCBC has taken on an ex-cop.
At HSBC, Chua was head of financial crime compliance in Singapore, according to his public profile. As we noted in April, although demand for generalist compliance professionals has fallen in Singapore over the past 18 months, it remains strong for financial-crime specialists, especially those with AML skills. OCBC alone currently has 12 Singapore-based vacancies in its compliance team that demand AML expertise. DBS, UOB, Citi and Standard Chartered also dominate the local AML job market, say recruiters.
Hiring across the sector is partly driven by banks in Singapore stepping up their efforts to detect money-laundering activities in the wake of the 1MDB scandal, which involved several banks in the city state. In May, for example, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Industry Partnership – a pact formed in 2017 between the government and financial firms – recommended that banks share a standard format of data submission with regulators.
Skill shortages are also fueling senior hiring as banks are forced to replace staff who are poached by competitors. “At that experience level, the AML compliance job market in Singapore is relatively immature compared to other countries,” says Orelia Chan, associate director of financial services at Profile Search & Selection in Singapore
Within a talent-short job market, financial-crime professionals in Singapore often spend comparatively short stints in each role or contract assignment before being promoted or moving firms. Chua is no exception to this trend. He was with HSBC for 18 months, having previously spent two and a half years managing AML compliance for Citi in Singapore, and just under two years performing the same function for Citi in China. Chua started his banking career in 2006 at ABN AMRO and held financial-crime positions at Dubai Islamic Bank, Barclays and RBS between 2007 and 2012.
Prior to banking and obtaining a degree in international economics and IT systems, Chua worked for the Singapore Police Force for six years, latterly as a senior investigation officer. While there he “investigated and solved several notable house-breaking and commercial crime cases”, according to his profile.
As we reported last month, OCBC also recently hired the man responsible for setting up the technology crime division within the Hong Kong Police in the late 1990s. Anthony Fung joined OCBC’s technology information security office as head of group red team (the unit that hacks the bank’s systems to test vulnerabilities) for cyber intelligence, forensic.
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