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The evolving role of the compliance professional

  • Publish Date: Posted over 4 years ago
  • Author:by Vincent Yao

Singapore is one of the most data-rich countries in the world and over the last decade, the compliance sector has been put under the spotlight as the next segment of the insurance industry that needs to evolve.

Across Singapore and around the globe we can’t help but notice how companies are completely shifting in the skillsets, knowledge and working background expectations they have from their employees. Technology has been the topic of discussion for the past two years and as its intensity and presence is felt, is it possible the ‘traditional’ compliance professional can no longer keep up with what the industry and stakeholders are demanding?

How is Singapore embracing technology?

It is vital for organisations in Singapore to find innovative ways to ensure strategic growth, notably around reducing compliance costs and enforcing effective regulatory change. Technology has the capacity to support this by providing solutions to otherwise time-consuming tasks and meeting consumer demands along with matching competitors standards.

To manage this growth, The Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) launched a regulatory technology (regtech) committee in 2019 to support the adoption of technologies that will help to overcome regulatory and compliance challenges. This initiative has promised to provide technologically advanced solutions that will disrupt the regulatory structure and in return meet the evolving demands of compliance.

What does this mean for the traditional compliance professional?

Singapore has experienced exponential growth in the audit, risk and compliance sector with a huge inflation of vacancies. However, a shallow talent pool of diverse candidates is proving difficult for hiring demands to be met.

Advancements in technology are putting pressure on traditional compliance teams who can’t keep up with the pace of change.

This is leaving a skills gap for innovative insurance businesses that are leading the way in embracing technology. The purebred compliance professional as we know them just can’t keep up with the demand of the function. It is encouraging companies to look to other departments or for candidates outside of the compliance sector to transfer across and fill the widening gap. This trend is influencing the potential evolution of the traditional compliance specialist.

Professionals with technology skillsets, specifically in data analytics, are being encouraged into compliance-focused areas even if they lack specific audit experience. It is proving to be no hindrance to the employer if there is minimal formal knowledge of compliance procedures, as companies are supporting this by hiring junior professionals they can mould into the compliance and tech winning combination through training and the investment of their time.

The next move

Compliance professionals in the insurance sector are going to be faced with new challenges as the industry continues to evolve. If they are willing to adapt and further their technical capabilities, a career in the insurance sector can provide an increased level of job security, skill demand and a chance to experience genuine career growth, even throughout this period of change.  

It is down to company management, employees and recruitment consultants to provide a refreshed outlook on these roles and what will be required moving forward.

Will the market see a new wave of junior tech talent coming in, and being brought up to speed on compliance procedures? Or does it still present an opportunity for senior employees and management to lead the way by improving their own knowledge and capability?

From my discussions with those in the industry, it seems the focus is being pushed to recruit junior compliance professionals and train them on tech know-how such as programming and data analytics, on top of areas in risk and governance should the organisation require a hybrid candidate. There is a prime opportunity for senior employees and management to lead the way by improving their own technical knowledge so they can best manage their teams and departments on what will be expected of them.