Our People

Meet a few of our people from different roles – from mid-career professionals to Graduate Officers, past interns and scholars.

Mid-Career Professionals

Jane Teo, Banking Department

Mid-career professional, joined in 2010

I started my career in an international audit firm specialising in banking assignments before moving on to join the banking industry as a regional internal auditor. After about a decade in audit, I was ready for new challenges. It was at this time that I was apprised of a career opportunity at MAS which excited me given the changing regulatory landscape subsequent to the global financial crisis. What could be more fulfilling than to be in the team that will help shape the banking industry of tomorrow?

Settling into MAS has been a breeze with good support provided by my team mates, who quickly brought me up to speed on the regulatory developments and the various supervisory issues. The working environment in MAS has been the most conducive in my career thus far; colleagues are willing to go the extra mile to provide support for each other, and to share experience and knowledge. Bosses are encouraging, and one of their top priorities is the ongoing development of their people through relevant exposure, appropriate guidance and suitable training opportunities.

My journey thus far has been very rewarding. Regular engagements with senior global bank management have given me valuable insights into industry developments and the unique issues that their banks faced, which broadened my perspectives. Interactions with other regulators during bilateral meetings and regional conferences enhanced my knowledge of the regulatory developments in other jurisdictions, and the challenges they face in their policy implementation. Further, onsite inspection allowed me to thoroughly examine the bolts and nuts of the various banks’ risk management systems and stay abreast of developing risk management practices.

A supervisor of mine once said “Work in MAS is never static” and how true is that! The banking industry is currently undergoing a series of regulatory reforms; keeping pace with these global developments and the impact on the banks we supervise has indeed been demanding. As banking supervisors, we are constantly faced with new regulatory issues, and it is always interesting (and of course also challenging) to balance new bank initiatives with prudential considerations.

Life is a journey of learning. Being in MAS has certainly allowed me to embark on a journey of continual learning, and it is this sense of professional development that keeps me going as an individual.

Goh Soo Hui, Banking Department

Mid-career professional, joined in 2006

I started my career in an international audit firm and subsequently joined the internal audit department of a foreign bank. Having been in an audit-related field for almost 10 years, I was looking for new challenges.

In my search for new challenges, MAS comes across as an attractive choice on two aspects. Firstly, it provides opportunities for me to build on my existing knowledge. Secondly, I look forward to the challenges in being part of an organization that is at the forefront of Singapore’s financial industry and plays a pivotal role in building Singapore as a reputable international financial hub.

My experience with MAS has been very fruitful so far. The nature of my work requires me to be frequently onsite at different banks. Through such onsite visits, I have the opportunity to deal with banks’ management and gain in-depth knowledge of their business and work practices. In addition, I have to constantly adapt to different work environments and interact with people from different cultures. Each assignment has been a great learning experience.

A unique experience was the participation in a seminar for regional central banks and regulatory agencies. The interaction I had with central bankers and regulatory agencies from other countries including those rapidly growing economies in Asia such as India and China were very enriching and insightful.

MAS is willing to invest in its people. There are many external and internal courses designed to help staff develop their technical knowledge as well as soft skills. Other than formal courses, MAS often invites experienced bankers to share knowledge with staff. There is also on-the-job training under the guidance of experienced staff. I have benefited from these learning and development experiences.

Colleagues across all levels are willing to share their knowledge and experience. Bosses also encourage sharing of ideas to improve and innovate continually. This culture of openness makes MAS an enjoyable place to work in.

I appreciate that MAS emphasizes on teamwork and the notion that more can be achieved as a team. This has encouraged sharing and cooperation among colleagues that created a friendly environment to work in.

As my past experiences were relevant to the job scope in MAS, I am able to adapt quickly and cope with the challenges that come with this new appointment. Having gained the trust of bosses, I am given the autonomy to work independently and also gradually assigned heavier responsibility in the team.

With MAS, I am learning new things everyday and I believe the exposure will be useful for my career development.

Graduate Officers

Tang Wei, Specialist Risk Department

Graduate Officer, joined in 2010

It is often said that one should enter into the profession for which one studied for in university. I beg to differ. Having studied Physics, Philosophy and Linguistics in university, I was clearly not trained to be a public servant, central banker or financial regulator. However, at MAS, it is the officer’s passion and capacity to contribute to the organisation, and perhaps more importantly, to Singapore, that matters and less critical is his or her field of training.

Being in the Payments and Infrastructure Division (PID) of the Specialist Risk Department (SRD), I have the fortune of applying the skills I had acquired in university to issues impacting the daily lives of Singaporeans. Payment systems in Singapore include various instruments such as the familiar cheques, interbank Giro, debit cards, credit cards and stored value facilities (such as the ubiquitous CEPAS-compatible cards). Here at PID, we focus on policies and regulations that ensure the ongoing safety and efficiency of the payment system.

Before I joined MAS, my impression of the payment system in Singapore was simply that it functioned as promised. However, as with all well-oiled machines, much work is performed behind-the-scenes that is not initially obvious to the casual observer. My current role in PID is split between three interconnected aspects of keeping the machine oiled; Crafting policy, surveillance, and regulation. Policy sets the framework for regulation, compliance to which is monitored via surveillance and from time-to-time, calls for fine-tuning of policy. Such a feedback loop is vital in keeping the machine at its optimal in an environment of constant change.

If there is one aspect of my job that brings the most satisfaction, it must be the realisation that what I do on a daily basis has a real and material impact on Singaporeans. This realisation is driven home every time I make an electronic payment for a meal, or tap my CEPAS card for a bus ride, in the processes establishing a concrete connection between my work and the effects felt on the ground. Likewise, it is not sufficient to craft good policies or implement effective regulation without concomitant communication with the public. In the end, it is crucial (and rewarding) that we communicate policies and the rationale behind it to the ultimate beneficiaries of our work, Singaporeans.

Being in MAS, and the public service, I feel privileged to be in a position to not only shape the future of the nation, but to craft and implement policies that improve the daily lives of Singaporeans. We have inherited a safe and sound financial system from our forefathers, being here at MAS today, there’s the feeling of continual effort to maintain and also better this precious inheritance.

Lim Bey-An, Reserve Management Department

Graduate Officer, joined in 2007

Where can you go if you want to pursue a career in investment management upon graduation? An investment bank, a hedge fund, an insurance company… or a central bank? For me, I set my eyes on joining the MAS’s Reserve Management Department (RMD). RMD is responsible for managing Singapore’s official foreign reserves. A central banking career may not be the most financially rewarding but it is THE place to be as central banks are playing an increasingly important role in the financial markets.

I joined the RMD in 2007, a few months before the epic collapse of Lehman Brothers. Perversely, my first year as a portfolio manager coincided with massive market turbulence as the financial crisis unfolded. During this period, we worked longer and harder than usual as we had to stay abreast of the numerous market developments and policy responses. The market uncertainty and volatility made monitoring the fast-changing situation difficult. On top of that, we had to assess the situation adroitly and manage our portfolios to pre-empt any financial impact on our reserves. It was tiring and tough, but NOT boring. The learning curve was steep and it didn’t take me long to realize that what I learnt in school is not always applicable in the real world and in untested waters. In retrospect, I am glad that I started my career in RMD. The constant guidance from senior portfolio managers and generous sharing of market knowledge and professional advice was and continues to be invaluable.

Relocating to MAS’ New York office has to be one of my best experience so far. Professionally, I am closer to the market action and can better stay attuned to the latest market developments. The ease of interacting with fellow market participants also helps in developing an effective professional network. Personally, life in the Big Apple is really fun, that is until the housework piles up. The trade-off is that you learn a lot about yourself living and working away from home. In some way, it also validates my decision to join RMD as it has indeed provided me with what I considered to be important when I first embarked on my career.

As a young officer in MAS, you will have ample opportunities to interact and present your views to senior management. Within RMD, investment ideas and recommendations are assessed on their merits – the soundness of the analysis and the risk-reward pay-off – rather than the seniority of the person. This is something that I appreciate and value.

Past Interns

Eunice Sim, Markets Policy

Intern, joined in 2005

I first learned about the MAS summer internship program 2015 during my spring semester earlier this year. Studying a degree in international trade during my penultimate year, has propelled me into looking for an internship, that will give me an opportunity to put myself on the forefront in dealing with the dynamic nature of Singapore’s financial industry. Nonetheless, having heard reviews that there was a slim probability of attaining an internship with MAS from friends and families, I was uncertain of my chances.

However, my attempt to apply at MAS has unequivocally resonated with my experiences during my college days. I recall a quote by Wayne Douglas Gretzky, cited by a very influential academic adviser: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. After much deliberation, I decided to give my application a shot.

Being accepted into MAS as an intern was an invaluable experience but yet, a challenging one. The Markets Policy & Infrastructure Department (MPI) that I was attached to gave me the opportunity to develop and expand my skillset independently, along with a considerable balance of supervision and guidance by my mentors and colleagues. This guaranteed my progress as an intern, but at the same time, nurtured me with the ability to work towards my aspirations in the financial sector.

During my 10 weeks of internship, I was fortunate to hold ownership and responsibilities of drafting regulatory proposals and reports that were inventive, yet original through independent research assignments and ample discussions with my mentors. Other roles in MPI also included the comparison of legislations and regulatory frameworks of various jurisdictions around the world. This brought me to realize the paramount responsibilities that MAS has, as Singapore’s financial regulator.

However, the most indelible memories, was definitely the friendships that were forged between my colleagues and fellow interns. The embracing culture of MAS has enabled me to work comfortably and yet effectively as an amateur intern. Moreover, I was also given opportunities to network with graduate officers from other departments that has not only broaden my perspective of MAS as a regulator, but reveal that the embodiment of an embracing culture in MAS, is not just within MPI, but true across all departments.

In short, having this experience under my belt has undeniably allowed me to look at the broader picture of this industry, and understand how several drivers and factors affect the financial sector of Singapore. I am certainly glad that I had taken the shot in applying to MAS despite the uncertainties that I faced at the beginning. My experience here in MAS, is absolutely unforgettable, and invaluable!

Scholars

Lee Su Fen, Specialist Risk Department

Scholar, joined in 2005

I have always felt strongly about pursuing a public service career. To me, it is a way of bringing purpose into my life and giving back to society. Although I had little clue as to what economics and finance were about at the age of 18, the MAS undergraduate scholarship was my top choice as I saw the world of finance as an exciting field with a vast array of opportunities. I also thought that being a central banker or a financial regulator would be a pretty “cool” job as I would be able to have a hand in shaping Singapore’s economy. So when I received the offer, I had no hesitation in signing on with MAS.

I spent four years at Stanford University in California, USA, where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Masters of Science in Management Science and Engineering. What I really appreciated about MAS was that it had a very enlightened view of intellectual pursuits. There was obviously a responsibility to make sure we did well in our studies. But I was free to pursue my choice of degree and classes, allowing me to engage in subjects that I was intellectually interested in. In two out of the three summer breaks, I participated in a research programme and a student-led community service camp, both of which MAS was supportive.

My first role in MAS was to be part of a team supervising a group of local and foreign banks. I had only taken a handful of introductory classes in finance and economics, unlike my peers who spent three to four years attaining degrees in them. So it was pretty much “on-the-job learning” right from day one – from the structure of banks and their various functions, to financial products, investment strategies and risk management, to banking regulations and policymaking. The learning curve was a steep one, but I enjoyed the challenge of learning new things every day.

I am currently part of a team that looks at financial risks – market, credit, liquidity, and counterparty risk – of banks in Singapore. We monitor market developments, analyse banks’ data and conduct on-site inspections to understand the risk profiles of individual banks as well as the financial system as a whole. I also work with my colleagues in the policy department on developing the technical aspects of banking regulations and policies. My job involves a healthy dose of travelling, where I participate in meetings to develop global regulatory standards with regulators around the world.

MAS pays a lot of attention to training and education. In addition to in-house training courses, what I found particularly helpful in getting up to speed with finance in my initial years was taking certification programmes such as CFA and FRM. MAS not only sponsored the exam fees, but also granted study leave to prepare for the exams. MAS has also awarded me a PhD scholarship, and I am now pursuing a PhD in Finance at EDHEC Risk Institute. As I continue to deepen my knowledge and skills, I look forward to further my contribution to MAS and Singapore’s financial sector in the many years to come.

Wang Yingheng, Economic Surveillance and Forecasting Department

Scholar, joined in 2010

Why MAS? After junior college I was keen on an overseas experience to widen my perspectives, so I applied to colleges abroad. Through a college admission interview I met a MAS scholar, found out more about the scholarship and opportunities at the central bank. While I considered other scholarships, the scope of work at MAS was closely aligned to my interest in economics and finance, so I submitted my application.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself reporting to work at MAS. Dynamism characterises life at MAS – rarely do you begin a day knowing how it will end. As an open economy and financial centre, MAS officers strive to stay on top of and respond to both international and domestic developments. In the Economic Policy Group, I have own area of responsibility and for the most part decide what I should look into and how I go about doing it. There is constant learning and I see myself getting better at what I do each day, gradually progressing towards mastery. There is always something new I am reading about, and being able to connect ideas and concepts gives me a sense of satisfaction. Most importantly, I find purpose in my work as I know my efforts contribute to Singapore’s growth in small but tangible ways.

Another thing I appreciate about MAS is that scholars are not accorded preferential treatment. The people at MAS are of high calibre, so it would not be fair to benefit a select group of people at the expense of others. This equitable treatment is why we have so many dedicated MAS staff who excel at what they do.

For those looking to take on the MAS scholarship, my advice would be “do not present yourself as someone you are not”. The interview process is to determine whether you will be a good fit for the organisation, so it will be best for both parties if you are honest about your interests and aspirations. A scholarship is a significant commitment and being fresh out of junior college it may be challenging to be absolutely certain of what you would like to do in the future. For men especially, with national service, it could be six years between committing to your scholarship and actually starting work. Talking to people working in the organisations will provide insights. Better yet, reach out to scholarship holders. After all, they have been in a similar position and will be more than happy to share their experiences and thoughts with you. Once equipped with adequate knowledge, you can then make an informed decision.