Salary pressures for compliance professionals in Singapore ease with more people trained

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Some 32 per cent of financial sector professionals surveyed predicted that total cost of compliance will surpass 5 per cent of revenues in 2021.

Yong Hui Ting

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – Even as the cost of compliance around the world continues to rise, upward pressures on the salaries of compliance professionals in Singapore have instead eased.

Mr Nicolas Inman, managing director in the compliance and regulatory consulting (Hong Kong and Singapore) practice at Duff & Phelps, believes this comes on the back of more people training in compliance, addressing previous shortages in compliance staffing.

In a Duff & Phelps report released on Tuesday (Feb 16), Singapore was named Asia’s No. 1 regulatory system, tying in second place with the United States for the most favourable regulatory regime globally.

“Singapore has long boasted a measured regulatory system that focuses on stability and sustainable development of the country’s financial services sector… Given these factors, it is unsurprising Singapore continues to perform well in global rankings for favourable regulatory regimes,” said Mr Inman.

Of the 250 senior financial sector professionals surveyed, almost a third of senior decision-makers in financial markets estimated that their compliance costs in 2020 exceeded 5 per cent of their firm’s overall revenues. A further 32 per cent predicted that total cost of compliance will surpass 5 per cent of revenues in 2021.

The research team foresees that investment in compliance will continue to be a priority for financial services firms this year on the back of the impact of Covid-19 and the challenges of a remote workforce.

Further, the team predicts that regulatory risks from remote working, such as the potential for market abuse and cyber security, will likely continue.

However, challenges in managing risks of remote working also present opportunities, such as reduced office costs and better monitoring and surveillance efforts even after the pandemic ends, said the researchers.

“Even in a post-Covid world, that should benefit compliance,” they added.

 

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