Left: Anabelle Koong develops AML/CFT policies as an Associate at the Anti-Money Laundering Department. She is a MAS Undergraduate Scholar, and holds a Bachelor of Laws from the London School of Economics and a Master in Law from the University of Pennsylvania.
Right: Jeremy Hor drives digital and business transformation as the Head of the Transformation Division. He is a MAS Undergraduate Scholar, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Computer Science & Management from the University of Cambridge and a Master of Science in Financial Economics from the University of Oxford.
Promoting sustained noninflationary economic growth along with developing Singapore as a dynamic international financial centre, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the nation's central bank and integrated financial regulator.
34-year-old Jeremy Hor and 24-year-old Anabelle Koong support the organisation towards achieving these goals.
Keeping it Clean
“I came from a JC class where most of my classmates went to medical school. Unsure about what path to take, I did my research and was interested in the public sector and the work of MAS,” says Anabelle, who has embarked on a career with the regulatory body. Currently, she is an Associate in the Anti-Money Laundering Department.
Armed with a Masters in Law from the University of Pennsylvania, Anabelle works with a team that is responsible for developing and reviewing policies and issues relating to anti-money laundering and terrorism financing, a vital link in keeping Singapore's economy and financial sector clean of illicit activity.
In a digital age where transactions can take place instantaneously, without face-to-face interaction, protecting our nation against threats of terrorism requires vigilant surveillance to sieve out abnormalities
“Our Anti-Money Laundering/ Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regulatory regime is only as strong as our weakest link. Criminals can always exploit any vulnerabilities in our system. As such, MAS is leveraging on data analytics to identify suspicious transactions or illicit fund flows in a more effective and efficient manner.”
Looking at her professional career ahead, Anabelle is excited to gain experience in policymaking, as well as exposure and knowledge of the financial industry.
“As a young officer, I hope to contribute fresh ideas to the team. Education is simply the start of the journey and I am grateful to receive on-the-job training from my seniors at work. We keep abreast of the latest developments in the financial industry and its products, so as to bridge potential gaps in our regulations.”
“MAS truly supports scholars. Young officers joining the team are offered an array of inhouse training courses and opportunities to explore different departments over the course of their career.”
A Technologically Driven Endeavour
Having been with MAS for over nine years, Jeremy is the Deputy Director and Head of the newly initiated Transformation Division, a role that suits him to a tee.
“I have always had an interest in both finance and computer science, which was why I chose to pursue those majors. Back then, it wasn't apparent to me how these could come together,” he explains.
Indeed, things have evolved quickly since his study stint in the United Kingdom. The rapid evolution of our modern world spurred the recent development of financial technology (FinTech) sector. Digital transformation is taking the world by storm today, and as a regulator of the industry, MAS is set on being the leader in change.
“You can't drive change from behind. It is only natural [as the central bank] that we transform and inspire new developments in the industry. From within, the Transformation Division is all about getting the organisation to change for the better. We are responsible for the MAS Transformation Map, which are our strategies for change, as well as delivering key initiatives such as the Digital Workspace to help staff, E-Services for financial institutions' dealings with MAS, and the MAS website for the public,” says Jeremy.
In particular, Jeremy's team collaborates with other departments within MAS to develop organisation-wide transformation strategies, and ensure alignment between the various efforts.
Though not a stranger to the workings of MAS, the past six months have been a learning curve for Jeremy as he was required to gain new skill sets and tools to prepare him for the future. Approaching it with arms wide open, he embraces the transformation and encourages teams to explore new yet bold concepts.
“It is not purely about digitalisation and building new digital tools, but really shaping a new way of thinking by having empathy for your key stakeholders and reimagining the processes. We need to bring the entire organisation along and to get everyone to move together,” he concludes.