A transformative career pivot to risk management
Global investment leader GIC seeks top talent to forge high-growth careers in investment risk management.
When Hsiao Mein left her job as a corporate relationship manager at one of the world’s largest banks back in 2007, the business administration graduate longed for a change of scenery.
“I wanted to experience a different industry outside of corporate banking,” she says.
That realisation led her to a risk management role at Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC. Little did she know the decision would set her on an exciting path of rapid professional growth spanning a decade and a half. Today, she is the Head of Operational Risk & Monitoring at GIC’s Risk & Performance Management Department.
“I had the opportunities to undertake four different roles in the department. Every role provided me with a unique perspective and enriched my risk management toolkit across public and private market investments in governance, compliance risk, investment risk, and operational risk,” she says. “As I reflect on my journey, 16 years have passed by swiftly.”
For those looking to achieve similar career momentum, the opportunity is now. On the back of fast-growing investment needs and digital transformation to supercharge its investment strategy, GIC’s risk department is on the lookout for top talent with 1 to 6 years’ experience, hailing from the banking, capital markets, financial services, investment banking, and investment management sectors. Candidates with skills in quantitative analytics, financial modelling, financial analysis, and risk management are particularly in demand.
“Our people refine technical expertise in their chosen risk discipline, and develop a significant range of portable skills,” says Hsiao Mein. “We take a keen interest in grooming everyone to be subject matter experts in their own domains and chart their own paths.”
As a leading long-term investor operating independently of the government, GIC’s structure mirrors the major financial institutions it benchmarks against. Within this, the Risk & Performance Department manages the independent assessment, measurement, monitoring and reporting of the organisation’s market, credit, and operational risk profiles.
Reflecting GIC’s size, global operations and diverse assets, risk roles promise exposure across a wide and comprehensive spectrum of products, investments, and processes.
“Each day presents unique challenges shaped by issues that may arise,” Hsiao Mein says. For instance, our team members may engage with stakeholders or management to analyse, resolve, and mitigate risks or identify recurring themes that require in-depth analysis. These challenges require us to be adaptable and agile in our approach, and we work collaboratively to find effective solutions.
To keep on the forefront, her team keeps pulse on key developments in the industry, continuously designs better processes, and enhances risk management frameworks and practices to ensure they are up-to-date and effective.
Hsiao Mein, for one, is particularly proud of a project where she – alongside a team – established and then refined GIC’s investment approval framework, which evaluates diverse investments across the organisation in a consistent manner. The updated framework considers unseen complexities, while upholding critical governance principles and achieving operational flexibility.
“The project holds special significance for me as it mirrors my growth and maturity as a risk professional,” Hsiao Mein says. “From being more idealistic at the start of my career, I have learnt to balance between governance and realities on the ground.”
Strategic support for career growth
“We do not have a hierarchical structure,” she adds. “Senior members are willing to roll up their sleeves and get in the trenches. Additionally, junior members are given opportunities to present directly to the senior management, which fosters a culture of collaboration and open communication. This approach allows us to leverage the diverse perspectives and experiences of our team members to achieve our goals.”
The talent in GIC’s risk department is not left alone in their efforts to upskill and advance in an increasingly complex world. The organisation offers its people access to an extensive network of peers, partners, and financial institutions to learn from the best through open conversations and exchanging of ideas and best practices to connect the dots.
With a highly competitive threshold for career applications, GIC’s mission is key in Hsiao Mein’s advice to prospective candidates: the most successful are those with a strong sense of mission and resilience.
"GIC's risk department serves as the organisation's second line of defence, providing an independent check and challenge to ensure that risks are adequately identified, assessed, and managed,” she says.
To do this effectively, risk managers must be bold in advocating for risk, standing up for their beliefs, and navigating difficult conversations. Hsiao Mein also emphasises that a good risk manager not only mitigates downside risks but also recognises the potential upsides. By embracing a growth mindset approach, risk managers can see significant personal development beyond their current role.
Learn more about GIC’s Risk & Performance Management Department.
Work at the Point of Impact. Learn more at GIC.CAREERS.