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Anti-Money Laundering Classes & the Leisure Boat Industry

Let me tell you a quick story about a special Professor I had in Anti-Money Laundering classes who taught me something important about the leisure boat industry… and what you can learn from it

I had never been first-in-class in my life before.

At school, I was always a solid student, got slightly above average grades, but I always approached my education with the goal of completing rather than excelling.

As someone who seems to always have more on my plate than I can deal with (for example, doing full-time university workload after hours while working full-time, not to mention I had 3 babies in 373 days) completing rather than winning was how I got through my life most of the time.

When I became fascinated by financial crime and transitioned from a tax accountant to a forensic accountant in my 40’s in Corporate Singapore, it was the perfect opportunity to focus on something I found intriguing — money laundering, financial crime, and corporate investigations.

But I was a busy working mum of 3 energetic teenagers at the time, aged 14, 14 and 15, so while I didn’t have much time between working full-time and kids/husband/family, I knew I wanted to study this stuff, find out more and get further qualified.

So, I enrolled in a Diploma in Anti-Money Laundering that was designed for the banking industry. I hadn’t worked for a bank up until then and I found myself sitting in night classes surrounded by people from banking. Night classes weren’t new to me, I’d spent 9 years part-time, including many night classes, to become a Chartered Accountant in the 1990s.

It was fascinating. They were mostly all in-house banking compliance staff, most of them working in the field already. But because I was from outside of the core industry, and more from the side-lines of the banking industry, I was able to bring a new perspective and fresh insight to the anti-money laundering challenges and concepts that the course taught.

I had lots of ideas and unique perspectives on not only financial crime and anti-money laundering but also on how it should be taught! My fresh ideas brought me a lot of success that year. Not only did I complete the Graduate Diploma, but I was also top of the class that year for Anti-Money Laundering. It was such an honour to have achieved this across five assignments and exams. First time ever, top in the class! Finally, I cracked that one, even though that wasn’t my intention.

But instrumental to my success was an inspirational leader named Professor David Jackman. He was pivotal in helping guide me, as well as giving me the courage to speak up and write out my insights and ideas that I could see from my unique perspective. He became a valued mentor and still supports me to this day.

Fast forward 10 years and after 5 years teaching financial crime compliance at that very Association, I now find myself in a somewhat similar position, this time in the leisure boat industry. Not really a part of it but having been on the side-lines for more than 30 years as the wife of a boat broker (not a position I would recommend by the way, but another blog on that one!).

I’ve seen and experienced first-hand the challenges in the industry. To see clearly how clients and customers can be so much better served than the incumbent brokerage and dealership model often delivers.

There’s no doubt that the broker’s job in many industries is on the brink of extinction. Real estate agents and boat brokers may soon be disrupted and made obsolete unless there is a significant change in the value they bring to the table.

This is where my focus currently is. Bringing more value to the table. From helping boat owners to generate three times the sales enquiries in 90-days compared to traditional methods or do-it-yourself (DIY), to online technologies and Online Boat Shows, through to helping boat ‘deciders’ via a unique and powerful “90-Day Boat Deciders Bootcamp”, it’s a fun and rewarding time to focus on innovative services for the leisure boat industry.

I’m more confident today in helping the leisure boat industry transformation as a result of winning in the anti-money laundering space in the banking industry in Singapore 10 years ago.

This confidence building has been a long-term project, but has steadily been built upon, one insight after another throughout my career (and has something to do with DNA connections as well — got it from my mother who was herself a pioneer as a Hatha Yoga Instructor in the 1970’s!)

For me, it was being recognised as a finalist in the Young Chartered Accountant of the Year Awards in the 1990s for my work creating Business Coaching New Zealand at the time when business coaching wasn’t even on the radar yet. Today it is a tens of billions dollar industry.

With the changes to the boating industry, I’ve been waiting for more than 20 years to start on this. From closing down our boat dealership after 11 years of toil and tears and losing everything we had in the 1990’s, it was then that I saw it crystal clearly, the benefits of adding significant value to the boat buyer’s journey.

But taking this small-town New Zealand business failure head-on and 7 years later, we took our three young kids and we packed all our belongings into two bags each and moved to Asia where we were successful in gaining good corporate jobs over 15 years to support our family with consistent incomes during their growing years. This was in stark contrast to being a traditional boat brokers wife which had meant many years of income instability and volatility and the challenges that come with this.

Now the children have left home, making their own way and all have good jobs of their own, the time is now. And thanks to the lasting impression and confidence from my mentor and professor — he gave me the courage to say it as I saw it, I excelled in one tiny area of the banking industry in Singapore.

Now I’m working hard to make a positive difference in the lives of boat brokers families (including my own) and for boat sellers and boat dreamers, boat deciders, boat searchers and boat buyers! Everyone who loves the water, the sea and the idea of a boating lifestyle. There are no ‘tyre-kickers’ in the new business model, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy and learn.

So, the thing I really want you to take away from this is we all have great ideas on how to make things better for clients and customers but you sometimes need someone to motivate and encourage us in those great ideas.

What this means to you in your boating life or business is if you love the boating lifestyle or the sea, and you have great ideas about improving the leisure boat industry or improving the outcomes for owners and buyers, we all need to have mentors to help us grow and believe in ourselves.

So, here’s your next step as it relates to what you and I just shared: let me know if you have great ideas about how to improve the leisure boat industry. I invite you to join my Facebook Group — become a Boat Boss — and so I can be the one who believes in you and shows you how you can do and be more than you think you can be in this industry. Click here to get started!

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