Comfort zones are where dreams die

Supporting management with the implementation of regulatory compliance
Oliver Tait is the newly appointed group and compliance officer at Old Mutual Namibia.
Junior Kapofi
Oliver Tait is a firm believer that one needs to believe in yourself and what you are capable of and continue to push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

Old Mutual Namibia recently hired Tait as the new group compliance officer. He is an LLB graduate from the University of Namibia (Unam). Before this, he completed his school career in Swakopmund where he attended Westside High and Namib High School.

While he worked, Tait enrolled at the University of Cape Town for a certificate in compliance management. Before joining Old Mutual Namibia, he was employed at Santam Namibia where he worked as a risk and compliance officer, and previously as a legal clerk.

Gail van Wyk, the corporate governance executive at Old Mutual Namibia, is excited to welcome Tait to the team.

“I believe he will be a wonderful addition to the team and I look forward to seeing his growth.”

Tait’s current tasks include supporting management with the implementation of the Regulatory Compliance Programme, assisting management in overseeing and monitoring that the business meets its legal and regulatory obligations, and that it promotes and sustains a strong culture of compliance.

He also assists in providing input and an independent opinion on the effectiveness and adequacy of operations, efficiency and effectiveness of the systems implemented to manage regulatory compliance matters within the business as well as input on the internal regulatory control environment.

The compliance officer said his workload keeps him busy throughout the day, but added that this allows him to continuously grow.

“There is an Afrikaans adage that says ‘ledigheid is die duiwel se oorkussing’ [idle hands are the devil's playthings] and with that being said, I enjoy my workload and most definitely enjoy being kept busy and on my toes till it’s time to go home,” he said.

Tait added that, thus far, he has enjoyed every minute at Old Mutual Namibia. “Everyone in the office is really amazing and they’re all helpful and always willing to assist.”

Asked about major challenges he has encountered in his career, he highlighted being heard.

“With that I mean gaining the trust of co-workers to get them on board with your ideas. I do think that age difference most definitely plays a big role in this,” Tait said.

Meanwhile, the most challenging aspect in his current job is the transition from a company that works predominantly in the short-term insurance industry to a company that encompasses all forms of insurance - both short-term and long-term - as well as investments, loans, trusts, etc.

On what keeps him motivated and focused on a daily basis, Tait mentioned his hunger for success as well as the confidence he has in his abilities.

Success in this position would be earning the respect of the business by fully understanding Old Mutual Namibia’s hierarchies and becoming comfortable with navigating within the structures, he said.

“I believe it’s only when I truly understand the company and the different business units within the company that I as a compliance officer can fully implement the compliance monitoring plans and effectively and efficiently complete my roles,” he said.

Tait is a firm believer in the saying “the comfort zone is where dreams go to die” and that thinking highly of yourself does not make you arrogant or narcissistic. “It shows you believe in who you are and what you are capable of.”

With that said, he envisions himself moving through the ranks and being in a managerial position within the next five to 10 years.