Shearman & Sterling Alumni Spotlight: Samuel K Huen, Global Head of Legal & Regulatory Compliance, Bank of Singapore

Published Date
Jan 30, 2024
Through the Alumni Spotlight series, you can meet a few of our distinguished alumni to learn how they leveraged their time at the firm to advance their careers and what advice they would give to those looking to have similar success.

Samuel K. Huen, Shearman & Sterling alumni, Global Head of Legal & Regulatory Compliance, Bank of Singapore Samuel Huen

Global Head of Legal & Regulatory Compliance,
Bank of Singapore

Singaporean Samuel Huen ’06 (Capital Markets, 2000–2006, New York City) received his bachelor’s degree from National University of Singapore Faculty of Law and his law degree from Cornell Law School before joining Shearman & Sterling in 2000 as an associate in New York City. In 2006, he left for investment bank UBS in his home country, where he became the first Singaporean to make Managing Director in Wealth Management Legal. He currently serves as the Global Head of Legal & Regulatory Compliance for Bank of Singapore, where he leads Legal & Regulatory Compliance functions and is a member of senior management.

What is your favorite memory or story from your time at Shearman & Sterling?

There are so many, as I’m extremely fond of my time at the firm. I guess I’ll share an embarrassing memory as it never fails to bring a smile to my face. On one of my very first matters as a first-year associate, I was asked to join a last-minute external meeting with a senior associate. I remember hurriedly arranging a ride to 885 Third Avenue, the address for Latham & Watkins. I recall we hopped into the car and the senior associate asked me where we were headed. Before I could even answer, the driver had already stopped at our destination, which was literally one block away from where we started at 599 Lexington Avenue. We laughed hard about it and she was kind enough to pay for the ride.

What skills or capabilities did you gain from your time at the firm that prepared you for future roles?

After that rather memorable start, I learned the importance of not being just diligent and careful, but to always think ahead. I also learned the value of hard work and how to be a servant leader. In addition, I benefitted from the culture of collaboration at Shearman, as it was always a team effort. It taught me the value of creating and leveraging mutually beneficial relationships.

What has been your career journey since leaving Shearman & Sterling?

I joined UBS as a young lawyer and, after more than 17 years, ended up as the longest-serving legal officer in the Singapore branch. I also became the first Singaporean to make Managing Director in Wealth Management Legal globally. I was privileged to rise through the ranks to lead the Legal function and be part of senior management at my location.

I consider myself fortunate, as during my time at UBS I was given opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn, as well as to grow further as a person and a professional. Like Shearman, UBS has tremendous talent and a global mindset. So, although I stayed there for so long before starting my current role with Bank of Singapore, it has been an exciting journey. I’ve had the chance to work in many areas of Legal and Compliance and it has been a privilege to work alongside, and learn from, some of the most brilliant professionals in the industry.

Tell us about your current job. What do you enjoy most about your work?

After many fulfilling and happy years at UBS, I was offered the opportunity to lead the Legal & Regulatory Compliance functions globally at Bank of Singapore. Unlike UBS, which has a long illustrious history as a private bank, Bank of Singapore was only launched in 2010 by our parent bank OCBC — the oldest bank in Singapore with a rich heritage. However, in our short history, the Bank has already grown into one of the leading names in private banking and has several awards under its belt.

What I enjoy most about my current role is the daily sense of purpose. We pride ourselves on being Asia’s Global Private Bank, and every day I look forward to partnering with many exceptional talents — not just in our Singapore headquarters, but in all our overseas offices — to better serve our clients. We are globally minded and proudly Singaporean at the same time.

As the chief lawyer and regulatory compliance officer, I’m very privileged to be part of senior management, working with like-minded and outstanding professionals to lead the bank. I hope that in my small way, I can contribute to taking Bank of Singapore to the next level of growth and help it become an even more significant industry player.

What advice would you give to someone looking to have a similar career path?

Have an open, curious mindset and always think beyond the legal issues. Learn about the business and the non-legal factors that may impact the outcome of your advice. Read widely.

Be grateful, be humble, do not be afraid to take the path less trodden, have a sense of humor and always be nice. In life, one’s success is never truly one’s own. There are many who have invested their expertise, time and wisdom in us, or perhaps simply said kind words to cheer us on. So do the same and pay it forward.

Content Disclaimer
This content was originally published by Shearman & Sterling before the A&O Shearman merger