Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 11 March 2015

Reply to COS Cut on Nurturing Singapore Talent in Finance

For Parliament Sitting on 10 March 2015

Name and Constituency of MP
Ms Sylvia Lim, MP for Aljunied GRC

To discuss government efforts to promote nurturing of Singapore talent in the finance industry.

Answer by Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth on behalf of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister in Charge of MAS:

1              Singapore serves as a key financial hub for the region and is well placed to benefit from the continued growth and economic transformation of Asia. To realise this potential in finance and create opportunities for Singaporeans to have rewarding careers in financial services, we must remain open to the best regional and global talent while building a strong Singaporean core. 

2              Under the SkillsFuture initiative, MAS and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) are working with the financial industry to chart the future skills needed and systematically equip our people with these skills. We will provide learning pathways and training opportunities, and Singaporean finance professionals at all levels will be able to tap on the SkillsFuture measures to pursue mastery in their respective fields.

3              MAS has also been engaging the top leadership of key financial institutions on the need to build a stronger Singaporean core and to maintain robust HR practices that are merit-based and safeguard against discriminatory hiring.  The response has been positive, with many proactively strengthening their Singaporean talent base.

•               For example, DBS has launched four new programmes aimed at grooming Singaporean diploma and degree holders for careers in retail banking, Small and Medium Enterprise banking, and customer service.

•               Under Barclays’ new apprenticeship programme, polytechnic graduates are employed in entry level positions for business units including operations, human resources, finance.

•               Citibank and NUS recently collaborated to launch a Transaction Banking module in the Business School programme.

4              Remaining open to the best global talent while building a strong core of Singaporean professionals and leaders in finance is key to ensuring our continued success as a financial centre. MAS takes this very seriously and will continue to work with the industry to invest in developing Singaporeans who are committed to a career in the financial sector.

5             In particular, MAS’ manpower development efforts focus on developing deep functional expertise, building specialist capabilities, and acquiring regional expertise among our Singaporean finance professionals.   Let me elaborate.

6              First, we provide subsidies to support professionals in acquiring deep expertise as well as to develop cross-functional capabilities through the Financial Training Scheme (FTS) and IBF Standards Training Scheme (IBF-STS) 

7              Second, we provide scholarships to Singaporeans to develop in specialist tracks such as quantitative finance, risk management, and information technology in finance.  These are offered under the Financial Scholarship Programme (FSP). Since the launch in 2006, more than 170 FSP scholarships have been awarded. 

8              Third, MAS works with financial institutions to develop programmes that provide Singaporean professionals with more cross-functional exposure within their financial institutions as well as to create more overseas exposure opportunities. These are done under the Finance Associate Management Scheme (FAMS) and the International Postings Programme (iPOST).  These programmes aim to prepare Singaporean professionals for possible future leadership positions.

9              MAS has been working with academic institutes and industry to create a new Asian Financial Leaders Programme (AFLP).  The AFLP aims to develop leadership capabilities particularly geared towards operating and managing in Asian markets. Participants will have opportunities to engage regional policy-makers, key corporate leaders, and fellow financial sector peers. The AFLP will be launched in the second half of this year.