DBS has recruited a leading PwC partner – and former senior police officer – as its group head of financial crime.
In one of the most important new hires for DBS so far this year, veteran compliance specialist Chris Wilson has joined the bank at managing director level.
Wilson started his career in 1981 in the Merseyside Police in the UK, before moving to Bermuda in 1986 for a four-year stint as a detective constable. Between 1990 and 1999 he worked for the Hong Kong Police, latterly as a detective senior inspector, according to his online public profile.
He then broke into the finance sector as an associate at J.P. Morgan in New York and returned to Bermuda in 2001 to head up compliance for local firm Bank of Butterfield.
Wilson took on his first two senior Asian finance roles at UBS (regional money laundering prevention officer) and GE Money (regional head of AML) in 2004 and 2006 respectively, according to his profile.
He joined Deloitte as a partner and AML leader for China in 2008 and then moved to PwC in 2015 as a partner in its Hong Kong forensic services team, focused on AML, sanctions and financial crime.
Wilson’s experience makes him “arguably the best compliance candidate in Asia”, says one headhunter we spoke to.
“I’ve come across pretty much every regional head of financial crime and there’s nobody who comes close to matching his 26-years-plus of experience,” adds another recruiter, Pathay Singh, managing director of The Compliance Grid in Hong Kong.
“And even if someone in the region had that tenure, they couldn’t beat his mix of enforcement, banking and consulting exposure. DBS couldn’t find a safer pair of hands anywhere,” adds Singh.
Wilson faces a difficult workload at DBS. “A head of financial crime has to be a jack of all trades and a master of all trades,” says former J.P. Morgan APAC head of audit Sharad Chawla, now managing director of G.R.A.C.E. Recruitment in Singapore.
“They have to be technically strong and a great people manager, and have a comprehensive knowledge of various industries, regulatory environments, and market trends across the globe,” he says.
One of the main challenges faced by department heads in financial crime in Asia is a shortage of candidates and fierce competition for talent when they need to expand their teams, says Chawla.
“They also have increasingly complex financial structures and more easily accessible global financial markets to watch over. And they need to improve awareness of FC-related risks and responsibilities among staff throughout the bank,” he adds.