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Since joining global investor GIC, former equity analyst Victor Liu has found his purpose safeguarding a nation’s portfolio.

Following workplace trends brought on by the pandemic, including the ‘great resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting’, there is little surprise that top institutions and thought leaders are recently declaring purpose at work to be employees’ greatest desire this decade.

But is this happy state achievable in the statistics-heavy finance world, where performance, premiums and pay-outs are the dominating priority?

For Victor Liu, the answer is a resounding yes. “While purpose might not always be clearly defined in a typical finance job, this is a place that provides opportunities to combine career development and tangible contributions to society,” says the assistant vice president at Singapore sovereign fund GIC.

Victor grew up in France and moved to Singapore in 2016; he joined GIC in 2022 after over half a decade as an equity analyst, engaged in fundamental and applied research for the investment industry. “I was keen to move to a role where I could see investment theses in application and derive more tangible impact,” he says. “GIC is special because of its mission.”

That mission, for investment risk professionals, is to help preserve and enhance Singapore’s reserves by mitigating or avoiding large losses in its investment portfolios; higher investment returns mean a larger government budget to finance public services.

To this end, GIC’s Risk & Performance Department manages the independent assessment, measurement, monitoring and reporting of its market, credit, and operational risk profiles.

“The work done here has a direct impact on the quality of life of Singaporeans,” Victor says.

“When the opportunity arose to join the firm, I found myself facing a tough decision. But after learning about the company’s collaborative culture, and its mission to be a leading global long-term investor, I was convinced that GIC would be a suitable place to learn, grow and make a meaningful impact.”

Big opportunities

As part of an ongoing digital transformation to supercharge its investment strategy, GIC is on the lookout for top talent to support its fast-growing investment needs.

Its organisational strategy sees risk management and risk-taking teams working in tandem to guard against blind spots and ensure risks are adequately addressed.

In addition, investment risk management professionals are empowered to independently challenge strategies and offer a risk perspective at the enterprise level.

In his role, Victor conducts independent risk oversight of the organisation’s active strategies, specifically around public equities. “I might spend my time analysing risk in active strategies, collaborating with investment teams to understand key risk and performance drivers of new strategies, researching and evaluating potential market stressors, or even working to enhance our suite of analytics and dashboards,” he says.

One of the things he loves most is the constant challenge to level up his technical skills; among his biggest projects is a risk dashboard that taps into corporate databases to deliver more accurate and comprehensive risk analytics to investment teams.

This supports better-informed investment decisions, and also promotes a culture of risk awareness throughout the organisation. “It is a big undertaking,” he admits, “but it is truly rewarding to know that our work is helping drive the success of the entire organisation.”

Beyond high-key projects, risk roles at GIC offer a unique opportunity for talent to focus solely on achieving the best investment outcomes. This is unlike the typical fund manager’s remit, which often includes the added commercial goal of gathering assets to increase the institution’s assets under management.

The latter approach distracts from portfolio management, Victor says. “Professionals who seek opportunities with a greater focus on pure investment management can consider the wide range of jobs in GIC across asset classes and teams worldwide.”

“Given the large breadth of strategies, there is never a shortage of new things to learn and explore – and that is what makes our work so exciting.”

A new path

Speaking of new things, transitioning from fundamental research to an investment risk manager role was “no easy feat,” Victor admits. “I needed to pick up a new job that was significantly different from my previous job, with a vastly different culture and environment.”

The collaborative culture at GIC made the pivot smooth and fulfilling. Victor points to managers who supported his growth, and willing colleagues across departments who lent a helping hand and offered insights.

“The culture of mentorship and the camaraderie that exists within this organisation have made all the difference in my career growth,” he says. “There is nothing quite like the feeling of expanding my knowledge and diving deep into the risk and reward dynamics of active strategies, especially when I get to collaborate with such a talented and knowledgeable team.”

Thanks to the nature of the work and the positive environment, he has achieved an ideal state of purpose at work – which he defines as continuously developing skills, building meaningful relationships, and creating positive change.

“Meaningful work helps me grow as a professional,” he says. “Do not be afraid to be curious and explore all the exciting possibilities.”

His advice: look beyond traditional investment-related roles to discover what best resonates. “Keep an open mind,” he says. “There is a wealth of functions and positions to discover, and you never know where your skills and interests might take you.”

Learn more about GIC’s Risk & Performance Management Department and Victor’s journey in GIC.

Work at the Point of Impact. Learn more at GIC.CAREERS.

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AUTHORGIC GIC

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