Career Paths, Advice

Speaking Out in A Quiet Room – Clarence Sim

Published 21 Oct 2020 by Sandra Au

When probed, Clarence describes himself as all at once resolute and easy to work with. He does momentarily catch himself, aware of the potentially inherent contradiction. In his role as Regulatory Manager (Regulatory & Interconnect) at Singtel, his duties include ensuring compliance obligations are upheld, which potentially makes him the guy who vetoes everything.

“To move away from that potential scenario, I make sure to account for different perspectives and communicate effectively during discussions with our business and product teams, which ultimately helps to build rapport and a stronger relationship. I make sure to give them suggestions and advise them on what would be a feasible roadmap when acquiring new products and services.”

A warm and genial person, Clarence also demonstrates a remarkable sense of fortitude. Detailing the trajectory his career has taken, he shares how wanting to take on a regulatory and compliance kind of role holds a kind of chicken-and-egg problem - compliance roles usually necessitate prior experience, but it’s hard to gain experience if employers don’t take a chance on you.

“I’m glad that Singtel took a leap of faith to invest in my potential. At work, Grace Paul, Director of Regulatory empowers each and every single one of her staff to voice out, regardless of seniority. We’re given a lot of autonomy to suggest and implement process improvements.”

Goodbye banking, hello FinTech

Indeed, change and innovation is in Singtel’s lifeblood. Having come from banking to the fintech arm of a telecommunications company, Clarence’s journey at Singtel thus far has put him at the forefront of Singtel’s ventures and offerings; one example is the launch of Dash Easyearn, a flexible and bespoke insurance savings plan that enables users to earn higher returns while enjoying the flexibility of anytime top-ups, withdrawals with no lock-in period or penalty.

“I’ll admit, it is pretty cool when you see the projects you work on get local media attention,” says Clarence, referencing the news of Singtel’s joint bid with Grab for the first digital bank license in Singapore.

Clarence also worked on the onboarding process for the digitalisation of remittance services, enabling customers to sign up for remittance services without any face-to-face interaction.

Being the single voice in a big room

In the corporate world, many are big on ambition and strive to be in the centre of the room. Interestingly, Clarence places much more emphasis in being the small, single voice that dares to speak out.

“While Martin Luther King is the face of racial reforms in the United States, I think Rosa Parks is a striking example of how a single individual can make a profound, resonant change from the ground up by having the courage to uphold their beliefs,” says Clarence.

Devoting his time outside of work to making a change in his own capacity, Clarence shares how a mission trip to Hong Kong was a profound experience for him. He was directly faced with the grim reality of a society rocked by opposing beliefs and the rapidly unravelling social fabric that followed.

“It humanises a tussle between much bigger entities and institutions, and makes you see the reality of the people on the ground who got caught up in things beyond their immediate control. It strengthened my conviction to reach out to affected families and lend support in whatever way I could.”

“In the words of Frederick Douglass, ‘it’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men’. It’s something I resonate with strongly and I think it starts with having the conviction to make a change in an individual capacity.”

This ethos strongly presents itself in Clarence’s work, no doubt empowered by Singtel’s open culture of learning and communication. Regulatory work requires him to be nimble, with refined people management skills especially when it comes to engaging senior management and different external stakeholders.

“Everyone comes into a meeting with a different perspective, and having such diversity also means they all bring something remarkably different to the table,” Clarence reasons.

“I’ve learnt how to bring my point across effectively with the target audience in mind, and this has really helped to build strong relationships across departments. Adopting their jargon and speaking in their terms has ultimately made work a much more smooth and efficient process."

Explore a multitude of career opportunities and stories at Singtel Careers. Find out why Singtel is the Employer of Choice* and explore our opportunities here.

*Awarded by HR Fest Awards 2020, which recognises and celebrates outstanding achievements of the region’s top leaders, teams and organisations.

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