Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 15 February 2022

Reply to Parliamentary Question on Financial Sector Development Fund Schemes




Date: For Parliament Sitting on 15 February 2022

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms He Ting Ru, MP, Sengkang GRC


To ask the Minister for Finance (a) in the last five years, how many applications have been received annually from individuals for all the various schemes under the Financial Sector Development Fund (FSDF); (b) how many of these applications are successful; (c) of the successful applications, how many are (i) Singapore citizens and (ii) permanent residents respectively; and (d) what is the total amount paid out under these schemes.

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

1 The Financial Sector Development Fund (FSDF) provides grants to both financial institutions (FIs) and individuals. Some of the FSDF grants to FIs are aimed specifically at supporting the career development of individuals in the financial sector, as described below.

2 With respect to individuals, FSDF provides course fee subsidies to Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, under training schemes administered by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF). These training programmes help to equip them with skills required to keep pace with the dynamic nature of the financial sector, especially in areas such as digitalization, sustainable finance, and cybersecurity.

3 Since 2017, FSDF has disbursed S$188 million of course fee subsidies to about 176,000 individuals, of whom 153,000 (or 87%) were Singapore Citizens. Grant funding for individuals increased significantly in the past two years1, as more individuals enrolled themselves in IBF accredited training programmes, notably in areas like cloud computing, data interpretation, and compliance. The annual statistics relating to schemes providing course fee subsidies are provided in the table below. All claims received were approved.

Table 1

Year   No. of Singapore Citizens supported No. of Permanent Residents supported    Total no. of individuals supported Total funding amount  
 2017   15,432  1,948  17,380  $9.4m
 2018  8,783  1,505  10,288  $6.2m
 2019  7,466  1,241  8,707  $11.8m
 2020  44,402  5,954  50,356  $38.4m
 2021  76,980  12,558  89,538  $122.1m

4 With respect to FIs, FSDF provides grants to help develop Singapore Citizens in the financial sector at different stages of their careers:

(i) At the pre-entry level, the Work-Study Support Programme provides funding support to FIs which offer internships to Singaporean students to acquire work experience and work-relevant skills.

(ii) At the entry level, the Finance Associate Management Scheme supports the hiring and training of fresh Singaporean graduates and early career convertees from other sectors through structured talent development programmes.

(iii) At the mid-career level, the International Postings Programme encourages FIs to send promising Singaporeans on overseas postings so that they are better positioned to take on future global or regional leadership roles.

(iv) At the senior level, the Asian Financial Leaders Scheme funds the participation of Singaporeans in management positions in curated leadership programmes to better enable them to navigate the diverse business, regulatory and legal environment in the region and globally.

(v) For deep specialist roles, the Financial Specialist Scholarship helps to develop a pipeline of specialist Singaporean leaders in key growth areas in the financial services sector, including sustainable finance and data science.

5 Over the past five years, FSDF has supported almost 600 applications from FIs, amounting to S$86 million under the various talent development schemes. This has benefited close to 2,200 Singapore Citizens. The annual statistics relating to these schemes are provided in the table below. On average, almost all applications received were approved, save for the Financial Specialist Scholarship where the approval rate is about 50%2.

Table 2

Year  No. of applications received3  No. of Singapore Citizens supported   Total funding amount
 2017  132  483  $15.7m
 2018  124  358  $14.2m
 2019  124  112  $5.9m4
 2020  136  987  $39.4m
 2021  81  236  $10.5m


[1] There was an increase in training participation in 2020 and 2021, following enhancements to the training schemes in April 2020. This included increasing course fee subsidies to 90%/95%, and introducing a training allowance grant for completion of IBF-accredited or recognised courses.

[2] Financial Specialist Scholarship applicants are required to undergo (i) a psychometric assessment, to assess their numerical reasoning and critical thinking ability which indicates their calibre to do well in their course of study, and (ii) an interview to understand the applicants’ career goals and the relevance of the course to their aspirations and area of specialisation. Hence, the approval rate is expectedly lower.

[3] Applications are submitted by financial institutions for programmes that support multiple individuals.

[4] The funding amount in 2019 was lower as there were only a few applications received for one of the talent development schemes, as the scheme was put on hold pending a review of the funding parameters.