For Women in Law

Compliments of the new year! Our first #womaninlaw interview for the year is with former FWIL mentor, Mapule Setlaleleng.

Mapule is an Associate Policy Analyst at the South African Reserve Bank (Prudential Authority), she conducts research based on international best practices and participate in industry and stakeholder engagements to develop robust regulatory frameworks for the financial sector. She also provides secretariat support in the governance structures and assist senior executives in the policy division.

Mapule holds an LLB degree (Wits), Postgraduate Diploma in Commercial and Business Law (Wits), Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning Law (UFS) and LLM in Insurance Law and Governance (UP).

Her areas of expertise include AML/CFT, FAIS, POPIA, collective investment schemes (inclusive of hedge funds), Insurance, financial services regulation and supervision, legislative drafting and policy aspects of climate risks/sustainable finance and financial inclusion.

Below is our interview with this phenomenal #womaninlaw.

FWIL:

What inspired you to study law?

MS:

It was a toss between law and accounting. After consulting with people who were already in the profession, I was most inspired by a family friend who was a Prosecutor. The work seemed meaningful and being from an area rife with crime, I thought pursuing law and becoming a Prosecutor would be a great way to somewhat give back to the community. Little did I know what law had in store for me. 

FWIL:

Please tell us why you chose to not go into practice or the traditional attorney or advocate route? To anyone thinking about taking the same route as you, what is your best advice?

MS:

I studied law with the intent of being a Prosecutor but in second or third year I realised that although I love law, I do not necessarily want to be in practice. I could not imagine myself in court nor did I enjoy the vac work I did in a law firm. I found compliance by chance, and I still amazed by how many opportunities there are within my chosen field.

I wish I had someone who had guided me on how to navigate my chosen field when I started out. My advice would be to seek out someone who is already in your desired field and ask for mentorship. Having a mentor and a sponsor goes a long way considering how competitive the job market is.


FWIL:

How did you end up in the finance regulation sector? Is this something you were always passionate about while studying law?

MS:

In my third year of study, I saw ABSIP advertising a post vacation interns with a financial services and investment company. I took a chance to apply, even though I was highly doubtful that I would be chosen because I wasn’t in the BCom stream. To my surprise, I was one of the two chosen students, and I was placed in the Compliance Department. This was my first exposure to the finance world, and it prompted me to do more research on jobs within the sector that a law graduate can venture into without admission.

I started my career in Forensics; it was a 2-year graduate programme with one of the big four audit firms. Towards the end of my programme, I decided I wanted to learn more about compliance (forensics is essentially financial crime compliance). At the end of the 2 years, I joined and investments company as a compliance officer. The position required a lot of interaction with the financial regulators (PA, FSCA and FIC) and it was here that I decided to move to the financial regulator in order to have a holistic view of the financial sector and to grow in the field.

So, to answer the second question, no, I was not always passionate about financial sector regulation. I just made the most of the opportunities available to me and eventually found something that I truly enjoy.

FWIL:

What does your current job position at the South African Reserve Bank entail?

MS:

I am an Associate Policy Analyst within the Policy, Statistics and Industry Support Department of the Prudential Authority. My main focus is Insurance and Climate-related risk and I occasionally get involved in AML/CFT work and Collective Investment Schemes. The main purpose of my position is to assist in the development of regulatory frameworks and to conduct financial sector prudential policy-related research and analysis to determine the impact of regulatory and policy matters and to monitor and influence the policy positions of international financial sector standard-setting bodies as well as local policy matters. This includes the review of current legislation, and drafting of regulatory instruments such as guidance notices, Prudential Standards and Joint Standards with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority.

FWIL:

As a black woman in law, have you experienced gender and race-related bias? Please tell us about the challenges, if any, that you have faced.

MS:

I have faced instances of microaggression and exclusion but never overt racism.

FWIL:

Do you identify as a feminist? (Why/why not)

MS:

100%. I am an advocate for equal opportunities (most importantly, equal pay).

FWIL:

What does woman empowerment mean to you?

MS:

Removing both social and professional barriers women face by virtue of their gender. In the professional space, it starts amongst us women pulling up other women as we move up our career ladders.

FWIL:

The journey of most legal professionals is not always easy. What are some of the lessons you have learned along the way and how have they shaped your outlook on life?

MS:

My most valuable lesson, which I was taught by current manager, is that there is no growth in your comfort zone. Always be willing to branch out because growth lies in discomfort. I have experienced so much growth in the insurance and climate space by moving away from the comfort zone (financial crime and investments).

FWIL:

What is the best advice you would give to a woman in law?

MS:

Find a mentor early in your career. Having someone to guide you, advocate for you and mention your names in rooms you are not in goes a long way.

FWIL:

What attributes do you think every young lawyer must have?

MS:

Agility. The legal field is ever changing, and one needs to be ready to pivot and adapt to the environment.

FWIL:

As a professional, it is quite important to effectively use your network. How do you meet other professionals and what are some of your effective networking skills?

MS:

Attending industry related events is one of the best networking methods that I have used. This can be a conference held by institutes such as the Compliance Institute of South Africa or Competition Commission. I am also very active on LinkedIn and usually reach out to people who occupy positions similar to those I aspire to be in. 

As a student, I was member to a few organizations and made to sure to attend as many evets as possible. This included ABSIP, BLA and SLSJ. Had it not been for my networking in ABSIP events, I doubt I would have found my current path.

FWIL:

What does the term “role model” mean to you? Is there a particular woman in your life that you consider a role model?

MS:

Someone I aspire to emulate. From a personal perspective, my role models are my grandmother and my late mother. I would be lucky to be half the woman and mother they are/were. From a professional perspective, there are a few to name but if I had to choose now, it would be, Deputy Governor Fundi Tshazibana and former Governor Gill Marcus.

FWIL:

What books have you read that have greatly influenced your life?

MS:

The Shack by William Paul Young. It’s a book about faith and forgiveness and trusting in God even in the face of unimaginable grief.

FWIL:

What is a quote that you live by? Your mantra

MS:

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your limitations are those you set upon yourself.”

FWIL:

How can people reach out to you?

MS:

LinkedIn: Mapule Setlaleleng

Instagram: mapule_s

3 Responses

  1. My mentor 😍
    Truly grateful for the guidance she’s given me not not to mention the influence.

  2. I remember the days you spoke about being a Prosecutor in High School and the excitement you had. Your vision seemed so clear and I was inspired by that. Reading this and seeing how agile you are and how you’ve grown into something you love despite the ideas of how you pictured your life to be in your younger years is even more inspiring. You’re doing really great. Your mom is very proud of you! Keep paving way for young black girls

  3. Excellent blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely
    overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

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