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4 in 5 employers find their staff not ready for new regulatory requirements.

New financial regulations, including anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and anti-corruption requirements are having a significant impact on Singapore’s banking and finance sector. This is according to new research from finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm, Robert Half.

The survey asked more than 600 financial services leaders, including 150 in Singapore, to nominate the top three global regulations which are impacting the way they do business.

Earlier this year, Singapore tightened safeguards against money laundering and terrorist financing, in line with recommendations by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), based in Paris. As a result, 46 per cent of Singapore finance leaders see complying with AML requirements as a major issue.

The second biggest challenge for Singapore financial services leaders comes from changes to the IFRS, cited by 39 per cent of the respondents. The move towards a single global set of accounting standards has caused numerous changes to the accounting procedures in many of the countries where Singapore businesses operate.

Anti-corruption requirements are the third most onerous set of regulations, cited by 35 per cent of Singapore respondents.

While complying with privacy requirements was the second most common concern globally, it was only nominated as the fourth most pressing issue in Singapore.

SINGAPORE EMPLOYEES NOT READY

When asked how prepared their employees are to cope with the new rules and regulations, Singapore financial leaders indicated that their teams are not up to speed on the changes.

Only 19 per cent of respondents said their teams were very knowledgeable of the new requirements. Another 51 per cent believed their teams were somewhat knowledgeable.

Of most concern is the 30 per cent of finance leaders who believe their employees are not very knowledgeable or have no knowledge, compared to 26 per cent globally.

Ms Stella Tang, Director of Robert Half Singapore, said the survey confirmed how difficult it is for Singapore’s financial services industry to stay on top of rules when changes happen rapidly.

“Banks and financial services companies are faced with a barrage of different financial regulations that are both broad in their scope and rapid in their introduction. So it is no surprise that Singapore finance leaders are struggling to cope.”

“The challenge of regulatory change is made more difficult if your team is not up to date. Some companies may need to bring in people with the right skills and knowledge, or invest in training their existing employees.”

“The increase in both national and international regulatory requirements has resulted in a strong demand for people with regulatory, compliance, risk and anti-money laundering backgrounds. Many of the functions of compliance officers were previously outsourced to law firms. However, the trend in recent years is for companies to improve their internal capabilities and controls, resulting in increased demand for these specialists,” Ms Tang said.



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