Opening Remarks by Mr Heng Swee Keat Chairman IBF and Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore Launch Event for the Appointment of Lead Providers for FICS Accredited Programmes
Members of the IBF Council,
Chairperson & Members of the FICS Steering Committee,
Colleagues from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency,
Ladies and gentlemen.
1 On behalf of the Institute of Banking and Finance, I bid you a warm welcome to today’s launch event, entitled “Powering Growth with Effective Learning”.
2 In 2007, the financial sector has continued to power ahead. In the first quarter, financial sector GDP grew by 12.9% year-on-year, twice the overall GDP growth. Employment growth in the financial sector has continued to accelerate, from an additional 7,700 jobs in 2005 to 11, 300 jobs in 2006. In the first quarter, 5,100 jobs were created. This high level of job creation is likely to continue. A recent survey by Hudson found that a majority of respondents in banking and financial services planned to increase headcount in Q2 2007.
3 The financial sector continues to see the highest value-add per worker. The sector employs 5% of our workforce, while contributing to over 11% of GDP.
4 As financial services in Singapore grow in scale, scope and sophistication, we must continue to grow and develop the talent pool.
We need to draw on new talent pools, both in Singapore and abroad, for the industry, and further enhance the professionalism of our existing workforce. It is heartening that the industry has been working very closely with the MAS, IBF and WDA on major initiatives to achieve these goals.
5 To attract talent, we have reached out to students, working professionals and overseas talent. Since 2005, we have embarked on outreach programmes both locally in the universities and polytechnics as well as in key cities abroad. A website, FinanceConnectSingapore, provides valuable information to those who aspire to join the financial services sector. The website also contains useful information for overseas residents who wish to locate to Singapore.
6 In partnership with the industry, we are deepening our specialist talents, in fields such as economics, risk management, financial engineering and actuarial science, through targeted scholarship programmes. We are also fostering a vibrant financial research and training community in Singapore to catalyse the creation of new knowledge and build our intellectual capital.
7 FICS is a strategic initiative to systematically enhance the capabilities of our financial professionals. FICS sets high standards, which are benchmarked to international best practices. These standards are ‘live’ standards – they will continue to evolve to keep pace with growth and innovation in the financial industry. Hence, the use of the FICS will enable our financial professionals to keep abreast of global developments in the industry. Ms Euleen Goh, the chairperson of the FICS Steering Committee, will shortly be speaking on how FICS can maximise the potential of our financial sector workforce, financial institutions and our financial industry as a whole.
8 To date, 6 key financial institutions have adopted the FICS framework for their in-house training or assessment – Credit Suisse, DBS, Great Eastern Life, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS and UOB. To accelerate the adoption of FICS, we will make FICS-accredited programmes more widely available. The appointment of the 5 lead providers today is therefore a significant milestone. The lead providers have been selected by IBF, in partnership with MAS and WDA, based on their track record in financial training, demonstrated expertise in their respective areas of specialization, organisational capability and readiness to support the FICS initiative. Together, they will progressively introduce a complete suite of FICS-accredited training and assessment programmes for all job families under the framework. These programmes, run on an open-enrolment basis, will bring FICS-accredited training and assessment to all financial institutions and practitioners as well as aspiring entrants to the financial sector.
9 Aspiring entrants, besides attending the training programmes, can also look forward to getting guidance from the lead providers on career opportunities and development pathways in this exciting industry.
10 To promote greater participation in this FICS initiative, MAS will, through the Financial Sector Development Fund, co-fund with financial institutions up to 70% of the course fees for these programmes. I encourage all financial institutions to leverage on the lead providers and the funding scheme to systematically develop their staff’s capabilities.
11 In conclusion, I congratulate the 5 lead providers (Financial Training Institute @ SMU, International Compliance Association, NUS Risk Management Institute, Singapore College of Insurance and the Wealth Management Institute) on their appointment, and thank them for their significant investment in and commitment to the FICS initiative. I would also like to thank Euleen, members of the FICS Steering Committee and Workgroups, as well as colleagues from MAS and WDA, for their collective effort which has enabled us to reach this significant milestone today. Let’s all work together to ensure that we have the leading edge talent pool to keep our financial sector powering ahead.