How much do APAC’s regulators earn?

Regulators’ salaries across Asia Pacific vary enormously:some supervisors earn fortunes and others hit the pay scale at the average to low end.APAC REGULATORs - SALARIES

Some governments believe that paying politicians and civil servants high salaries should reduce the likelihood of them accepting a bribe, offered in cash or disguised as a gift. Others argue that financial regulators will be less likely to jump ship and work for a bank if they are paid competitively by the government. Some countries pay their banking regulators on the same modest scale as other government employees , pitting them against some of the highest paid people in the country – bankers.

Last April, we found out how much the head of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority brings home; Norman Chan Tak-lam was set to earn HKD$9.41m(USD1.2m), making him the highest paid central bank chief in the world.  As the HKMA is also the banking regulator, this makes Chan Tak-lam the biggest earning regulator in the world. Chan Tak-lam’s counterpart in Beijing, Shang Fulin, the head of China Banking Regulatory Commission, earns an estimated  CNY11,271 (USD1,800) per month.

The accompanying infographic details more of APAC banking regulators’ earnings.

Comparing regulators salaries with those of bankers reveals a stark difference. Since the global financial crisis took hold in 2008, we have seen a distinct change of attitude towards financial institutions. Blatant rule breaking by banks – whether money laundering, sanctions busting or tax evasion – is being punished in high-profile cases as regulators finally start to show their teeth. However, the impact on the individuals responsible have been unremarkable; a move to a less high-profile role in the bank, or early retirement as opposed to job loss or, as some have called for, criminal prosecution.

Rather than going after the bankers who allowed criminality to go unchecked at banks, or those who made good from the financial crisis, there is an element of maintaining the status quo vis a vis bankers’ salaries that is out of step with the movement to make change for the better in the financial sector.

In the post global financial crisis and post public bailout economy, can banks justify paying million dollar bonuses?

In February 2015, Ross McEwen, the head of RBS, went on record to defend bonuses for bankers in spite of government bailouts and losses:

“I need to be fair paying for our people so I can actually keep them onboard.”

Although McEwen has opted to hand back his personal GBP1m (USD1.5m) share award to the bank he will still take home an expected GBP2.7m (USD4m) in 2015. Peter Sands, the outgoing boss of Standard Chartered also waived his bonus in 2015.

Looking at Asia Pacific, four of China’s largest five banks made the Banker’s Almanac list of top ten biggest financial institutions. This includes Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank Corporation, Agricultural Bank of China Limited and Bank of China. China Development Bank Corporation languished at no. 21 on the list.

“According to the half-year annual reports of the listed commercial banks, the average annual payment before deductions for the chairmen of the five biggest Chinese commercial banks was around 2 million yuan ($325,600).”Source:The Global Times 2014.

Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS bank, Singapore’s largest, made SGD9.2m (USD 6.6m)
The CEOs of United Overseas Bank and Oversea Chinese Banking Corporation were not far behind.

Chief regulators salaries fall far short of those earned by their peers at regulated entities.
It’s unlikely they will ever be measured on the same scale. Regulators, in an ideal world, would be motivated by doing the right thing for the right reasons. That is certainly the message that some regulators are putting across. But banking is all about money, and the more you earn, the higher your status.

First published on the International Compliance Association blog in March 2015. 



On 23 April 2014, Almaty’s first nationwide Anti-Corruption School opens its doors for students, civil society representatives, journalists and all citizens who wish to

John Cole Cartoon satirising corruption in Luzerne Schools

John Cole Cartoon satirising corruption in Luzerne Schools

learn how to counteract corruption in daily life.

Transparency International Kazakhstan – with support from the Soros Foundation-Kazakhstan and in partnership with the Agency for Fighting against Economic and Corruption Crimes (the Financial Police), the Financial Police Academy, Turan University, the Kazakhstan Association of Higher Education, and the Republican State Enterprise “Kazakhstan Temir Zholy” – will present a completely new educational format that provides students with anti-corruption instruments and tools, with step-by-step recommendations on how to apply them.

The Anti-Corruption School project aims at promoting the theory and practice of anti-corruption. Over the course of seven days, all students will get the opportunity to work with leading anti-corruption experts, government representatives, businessmen and scientists. They will also get the opportunity to see real-life examples of how to effectively fight corruption. The school’s programme includes four training modules that combine both theoretical and practical courses on topics, such as corruption research and public sector, private sector and civil society participation in combating corruption.

Within the framework of this project, we have also launched an informational campaign “I have a dream” – focusing on children’s dreams about a clean, transparent and just Kazakhstan. All of the words presented in our posters are real expressions of children from Almaty kindergartens. The dreams of these young citizens of Kazakhstan are rather small and these dreams cannot be executed by fairies or by cyber toys. Only we, adults, can make these dreams come true.

We argue that corruption is a part of a culture or lifestyle; that corruption is an integral part of doing business and that ordinary people cannot resist corruption. Corruption is a two-way street – those who give bribes have to be responsible for their actions as well as those who receive bribes.

Source: Transparency International

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Infographic: the US financial sector in 19 years, from 37 to 4

Four banks dominate the US banking sector; they have developed out of a group of 37 individual institutions that operated in 1990.

Sources: Federal Reserve, GAO, Collated by Exposing the Truth

Sources: Federal Reserve, GAO, Collated by Exposing the Truth

This chart compiled by Exposing the Truth takes data from the Federal Reserve and the Government Accountability Office to show how 37 banks have closed, disappeared, merged, sold and squeezed in 19 years between 1990 to 2009 into four mega institutions which have benefited from the ‘too big to fail’ umbrellas.

The US financial sector in 1990 drew a starkly different landscape from the one we see in 2014.  The 1990s brought in many changes in regulation, precipitated by the financial crisis of the late 1980s. The introduction of the Basel Capital Accord in 1988 changed how financial institutions assess and counter risks. Technology was little used in retail banking in 199; on-line banking was undeveloped, mobile banking was merely a twinkle in  a WAP developers eye.

The nature of  banking was different. Institutions were smaller, they served a localised clientèle, whether state wide or city wide or regional. Banks had personality; clients could talk to the manager, who had more control over how a branch ran. My regulatory knowledge of banking back in mid 90s US is limited, I own, so I do not know how many banks were closed by regulators for compliance failures, or were censured for gross misconduct or criminality.

Compliance and regulation specialists use examples of how regulators and regulatory penalties have forced institutions to close in the past. Wachovia, the bank which laundered cash for Mexican cocaine trafficking cartels, made it through to the final stages of the 19-year competition, losing out to Wells Fargo only in 2008.

I would be interested to hear from readers how many more of these 37 institutions were forced out of the market as a result of poor market practice resulting in a breach of regulations or legislation.


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Bulk cash smuggling: India to Nepal with Euros, Dollars and Baht

Three UP men arrested with huge foreign currency cache in Nepal FCA - Cash smuggling

Thank you  for the update.

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Corruption: How bribes are crippling Indian farmers

In the rural district of Bihar, India, a community centre is packed with people. It’s hot and full, but the crowd is silent. Standing at the front of the room, a young man in his twenties is telling his story. While FCA - TI India Biharspeaking, he breaks into tears.

The man’s name is Altaf*. He and his family live on a plot of land nearby. Altaf grew up there, and now works there – it’s his livelihood and his home. Having stayed there for so long, his family are legally entitled to the land, but there’s a catch – they need to obtain a land entitlement certificate. And getting hold of the document is not as easy as it might seem.

Altaf applied for his land entitlement at the land revenue office more than two years ago, but he never heard back. Every time he visited the office to enquire about the stage of his application, Altaf says, staff demanded he pay 2,000 rupees (US$32).

Unable to pay, he was terrified of what could happen next. Altaf comes from a state where almost half are landless, pressure on the land is growing, and it’s not uncommon for people to be forcibly removed from their land. He had seen this happen to his neighbours. Like the many others who filled the room, he had come to our meeting for help.

“We offer trainings to help rural people understand and uphold their rights,” says Akanksha who works for our chapter in India and helped organise this meeting in 2012. “The sessions aren’t just about sharing stories. They’re about giving vulnerable people the knowledge they need to fight back against those who abuse their power.”

In Altaf’s case, help came in the form of India’s freedom of information act.

“It might seem surprising, but public information requests are a very effective way for tackling extortion,” Akanksha explains. “When a citizen sends in a request, local bureaucrats are forced to provide an official update on the status of an application – often, this is enough to stop them withholding documents and demanding bribes.”

This is what happened to Altaf. Following the meeting, we helped him file a public information request regarding his land entitlement application. After the first request was not acted upon, we filed another, prompting the district authority to initiate an investigation.

Unable to provide a legitimate reason for delaying Altaf’s application, the local land office restarted the process.  It took six months, but Altaf and his family received their documents, and with it the assurance that they can stay in their home.

Their success sparked a chain reaction – suddenly the officials began approving other pending applications.  What’s more, it’s giving others the courage to break their silence on extortion. “Citizens were previously scared to speak out, or felt there was no point,” says Akanksha. “Altaf’s story is helping us change their minds.”

*Name has been changed

This is just one example of our work around the world. Active in more than 100 countries, we’ve already helped thousands of citizens to stand up and challenge corruption.  With your support, we can do even more.

Find out how you can get involved.

– See more at:

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Sri Lanka: Government prepared for sanctions

The Government says it is not afraid of being slapped with economic sanctions by any country over alleged human rights abuses.

Flag of Sri Lanka Deutsch: Flagge Sri Lankas E...

Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva says the Government has taken measures to ensure economic stability in the country following the end of the war.

He says the Government will ensure the economy remains stable even if there is pressure from other countries. “We have brought peace to this country and we will not allow terrorism to raise its head again,” the Minister said. The Minister noted that Sri Lanka will face several challenges in future as some among the international community do not like to see a leader who refuses to tow the Western line.

“If a leader does not tow the Western line, then those countries try their best to remove him,” the Minister said, adding that the moves on Sri Lanka in Geneva is part of that attempt. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva says the people of Sri Lanka, as a Nation, must get ready to face the challenges confronting the Nation. (ER)

Source: The Sunday Leader

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Singapore Launches Anti-Money Laundering Risk Assessment


singapore (Photo credit: Kenny Teo (zoompict))

A joint Steering Committee in Singapore – led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Finance – has launched a comprehensive assessment of money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF) risks in the country.

Full story at