Monetary Authority of Singapore
Feature | MAS

Regulating with a Purpose

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. Through its scholarship, it invites go-getters who are passionate about shaping Singapore’s economic and financial development to help further its mission.
MAS - Scholars

Elliot Yeo is a MAS Undergraduate Scholar, and he holds a Master of Science in Law and Accounting from The London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Laws from NUS. He is now part of the Financial Supervision Group with MAS, responsible for the supervision and regulation of banks in Singapore.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has come a long way since its formation in 1971. Over the past five decades, it has progressively become a central bank and integrated financial supervisor of repute, a source of public confidence in our financial sector and an active partner with the industry in growing Singapore as an international financial centre. Through its unrelenting efforts, Singapore and its financial sector are positioned to emerge well in this challenging environment.

Scholar Elliot Yeo, who is now approaching his third-year mark with MAS, said that it has been “a meaningful experience working in MAS” as his role contributes to the financial wellbeing of Singapore and its people.

A Job that goes Beyond Regulating

“Our work impacts both the safety and soundness of the financial sector, as well as on consumers who are customers of the financial institutions that we regulate,” Elliot shared. He believes that his team’s efforts in improving the risk controls and practices of banks lead to fairer treatment for consumers and a more secure financial system in which people in Singapore can have confidence in when conducting their individual and business dealings.

While the workload can be demanding, Elliot finds it fulfilling and intellectually stimulating. “There is no lack of excitement, and I’m continuously given opportunities to learn new things and grow in my understanding of the challenging world we live in.”

Elliot’s job brings with it new challenges in different seasons, from dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on the financial health of our banks, to combating the recent wave of scams that have plagued customers of banks. The geopolitical developments around the world, such as the Russia-Ukraine war, have also kept him and his colleagues on their toes in needing to be aware of the cascading effects of such events on Singapore’s economy and the stability of our financial sector.

But Elliot takes all these in his stride. In fact, he found it a privilege to be part of the collective efforts in helping banks and their customers tide through the economic downturn resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two years. He revealed, “Being part of the broader government-wide efforts to help Singapore through the crisis was particularly significant for me.”

Elliot Yeo

Elliot Yeo

Securing Singapore’s Financial Future

No wonder Elliot had such a mindset. Since childhood, he had already developed an interest in financial sector developments, as well as in policymaking, particularly work that would contribute to building a stable financial system and financially stable lives for people in Singapore.

“I was first exposed to financial sector developments when I was reading about the 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis, specifically on how the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States quickly made its way to Singapore’s financial sector, causing our economy to enter a recession and job losses to many,” Elliot reflected.

This interest eventually influenced his decision to pursue a career in the public service, to help build stronger safety nets that could help improve the standards of living for the common man on the street.

Elliot’s internships at MAS during his university days further reinforced his career decision. “Through these internships and speaking to people who worked in MAS, I had a clearer idea of the role of financial sector regulators and economic policymakers in contributing towards the broader aim of building financially stable lives for people in Singapore, and I eagerly anticipated a career with MAS.”

A People-Centric Organisation

On top of that, Elliot also found out that MAS is an organisation which very much cares for the well-being and development of its staff. It was not quite something that he had expected given his preconceived notions of a regulatory body that dealt with financial institutions and monetary policy.

“One thing that stood out to me about MAS during the interview process was its people-centric nature,” he mused. “And after starting work with MAS, I have experienced that my managers have shown genuine concern for my well-being in difficult moments, and there is a safe space to share my views and struggles.”

“There is no lack of excitement, and I’m continuously given opportunities to learn new things and grow in my understanding of the challenging world we live in.” Elliot Yeo

“The most important source of support from MAS came in the form of mentors who were intentional about walking with me through my university journey.” Beyond just giving career advice, these mentors turned out to be people whom Elliot could confide in and share his personal struggles with. “Their outlooks on work and life have helped to shape my view on the kind of worker and public servant I would like to be.”

Even now after close to three years, Elliot still meets up with his mentors over catchup sessions. Therefore, it is no surprise that he described the work culture in MAS as “nurturing”, where people look out for one another, are quick to give credit to others, and see themselves as a team working towards common objectives.

Explore, Learn, Grow

Elliot is appreciative of the time and space given to him to grow as an individual contributor, as well as the grace to make mistakes and learn from them. He looks forward to growing as an officer and as a person at MAS. “I have been in Banking Supervision for the last three years and there’s still much to learn. Going forward, I hope to also gain broader exposure and perspectives by moving to other functions of MAS, such as policymaking, monetary management, or a stint in MAS’ overseas offices.”

Due to the unique role of MAS as the financial regulator, financial centre developer and central bank, there is a range of functions in MAS to suit the varying interests of its staff - economic research, prudential policy, supervision of financial institutions and sustainable finance, just to name a few. “Staff are given opportunities to rotate around departments to explore different areas of work,” Elliot added, “It does not matter whether your educational background is in economics, law, finance or engineering. Everyone will be able to contribute and provide his/her perspective and views.”

This was something that Elliot had discovered early on during his interview with MAS. When he mentioned that he was interested to read law at university, his interviewers were supportive and told him that people from different disciplines were valued at MAS, as it would help provide a diversity of perspectives when considering solutions to a problem. Furthermore, MAS encourages continuous learning, and has a robust programme to equip new officers with relevant knowledge, as well as training programmes and sponsorships to encourage staff to upskill and reskill.

Build Your Career with MAS

To those who are considering a career with MAS, Elliot has these words of encouragement, “MAS is like a large family where you can find value not just in the purpose and tangible outcomes of your work, but also the relationships that you build along the way which can help to tide us through difficult moments. In this journey, there are ample opportunities for one to develop personally and professionally, but also space and time to learn. It is a place where people with the right fit and values will be able to develop a long-term career.”