Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 04 November 2019

Reply to Parliamentary Question on building a strong local talent pool in the financial sector




Date: For Parliament Sitting on 4 November 2019

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Cedric Foo Chee Keng, MP, Pioneer SMC


To ask the Prime Minister whether he can provide an update on the efforts in strengthening a Singaporean talent pool in the local finance industry.

Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

1   Building a strong pipeline of local talent is a key priority for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and critical to our desire to develop a world class workforce for the financial services sector. The financial services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) sets out our strategies in some detail to achieve this. MAS has been working closely with our tripartite partners including financial institutions, the labour movement, and government agencies to implement these strategies.

2   As a result of our efforts, from 2016 to 2018, the financial services and FinTech sectors saw a net increase of about 4,900 jobs on average each year, which is in fact above the ITM target of 4,000 per annum. This year, despite the slowdown in the economy, hiring in the sector remains healthy.

3   Let me outline MAS’ key strategies to build a strong pipeline of local talent in financial services. 

4   First, reskilling and redeploying local professionals into functions where jobs are growing. MAS, IBF, and the financial industry are working together to prepare our workforce with the skills for these jobs. Financial institutions have committed to reskill about 4,100 professionals under the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) in the next two years, and to redeploy them in new or enhanced jobs.

5   Tripartite partners are also supporting Singaporeans with resources on training and career services to cater to their aspirations. For example, in the equities market, NTUC, e2i, MAS, IBF, and the Society of Remisiers, have organised workshops for remisiers on future skills, jobs in demand, and career profiling assessments. We have seen good turnouts and received positive feedback.

6   Second, building technology skills for the financial services sector. The Technology in Finance Immersion Programme (TFIP) was launched in April this year to train local professionals in specific technology areas such as cloud computing, data analytics, full stack development and cyber security, through structured training and attachments with participating financial institutions. The inaugural phase for TFIP saw overwhelming demand for the more than 80 positions across banking, asset management and capital markets. We will expand the programme to include more employers and job openings.

7   Third, growing our talent pool and deepening specialist skillsets. We are leveraging work-learn pathways, which integrate classroom learning with structured on-the-job training, to prepare tertiary students for financial services sector jobs. For example, the Applied Wealth Management track in NTU’s Bachelor of Business programme saw many of the inaugural batch of 33 students being offered jobs after they completed their first 10-week internship with DBS. We look forward to more such partnerships.

8   MAS and IBF are also working with the industry to establish competency standards in key job families to guide the design of training programmes for our local workforce.  We also subsidise the training programmes heavily to make them accessible to workers.  Over the past three years, an average of 21,000 individuals have benefited each year from these training subsidies. In addition, we have awarded about 440 scholarships and awards over the past three years to support training in specialist skills.

9   Fourth, developing the local leadership pipeline. As Singapore grows its role as an international financial centre, more regional and global leadership positions are opening up here. We want to help more Singaporeans equip themselves to compete for and take on these leadership roles. MAS has supported financial institutions efforts to groom younger Singaporean talents through structured management associate programmes, send promising Singaporeans for overseas postings, and deepen the finance leadership capabilities of senior Singaporean professionals. About 700 Singaporeans have been supported under these programmes from 2016 to 2018, and many have progressed to take on larger roles within their firms.