Published Date: 24 November 2008

Address by Mr Ng Nam Sin, Executive Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, At the SMU-SCB Advanced Diploma in Private Banking Graduation Ceremony

Professor Tan Chin Tiong, Deputy President, Singapore Management University

Mr Peter Flavel, Global Head of Private Banking, Standard Chartered Bank

Ladies & Gentlemen,

A very good evening to everyone. I am most delighted to join you at this special event. To the 15 graduates of the Advanced Diploma programme, let me extend my heartiest congratulations to you. I am sure that you worked very hard to earn this Diploma. The knowledge and competencies that you have gained from the programme will be invaluable as you embark on your private banking careers.

Turbulent Financial Markets

2   I am sure everyone is watching the global financial sector closely as events continue to unfold. While our financial system remains stable and robust, the ongoing financial turmoil will have eventual impact on the real economy and the global financial architecture. However, it is at times like these that we must not lose sight of key fundamentals that have made Singapore’s long term growth sustainable & competitive. Talent & competencies are two important areas that merit continued attention. The financial landscape is likely to be a different one when the turmoil is over. As industry practitioners, the skills you acquire will put you in good stead to adapt to such changes. Allow me to share three observations on what a private banker and his firm need to address given the current volatile environment.

Good practices for the Private Banking Industry

3   The first is building trust with your clients. As a private banker, you need to uphold the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and exemplary business conduct. It is crucial that you understand the needs of your clients – be it their risk appetite, liquidity preferences, or even personal beliefs about ethical investing. You need to ensure that any investment advice given is fair, objective and in the best interest of the client. The only sustainable way to grow your business is to build trust and demonstrate your commitment to their long term interests, given any market conditions. 

4   The second is the need for your institution to place continuous emphasis on good risk management practices, especially given current market condition.  As a private banker, you would need to play your part in ensuring that practices relating to risk management and proper governance are strictly adhered to.  What is done at the front office in serving clients need to be seamlessly integrated with the mid-and-back office functions of controls and compliance.  That way, you and your institution will continue to build on the reputation for integrity, reliability and quality. 

5   My third point is on competence.  As private bankers, you need to be familiar with products, latest market developments and wealth management solutions, amongst others in order to serve your clients well. You need to continuously upgrade your skills and knowledge to keep up with market developments. As for institutions, it also takes foresight and commitment on the part of senior management to train and develop staff competencies.    

Encouraging investments in talent development through enhanced FSDF training schemes

6   I would like to commend Standard Chartered Bank for your commitment to staff development.  Indeed, institutions need to continue to invest in talent development even in the current market downturn. This will position them strategically to capture growth opportunities in the upturn.

7   MAS will do our part to encourage these efforts. We will further enhance the training incentives funded by the Financial Sector Development Fund (FSDF) which MAS administers.  Broadly, MAS will be extending the grant quantum and coverage under the various training schemes.  There are three categories:

Firstly, for training under the Financial Industry Competency Standard or FICS programmes, trainees will receive higher grant support of 80%.  As an added incentive, we will also provide funding support to financial institutions for the development of in-house FICS accredited programmes. To reach out to more industry participants, we will also extend the same grant support to suitably-qualified individuals who are not sponsored by financial institutions and pay for their own training.

Secondly, under our Financial Training Scheme or FTS, the FSDF co-shares the cost of training with financial institutions.  We will be increasing our grant support for training fees from 50% to 70%. 

Thirdly, under our Finance Scholarship Programme or FSP, MAS will broaden the range of Masters programmes that qualify for support.  These include programmes in the areas of finance, applied finance, and financial economics.        

8   We will release more details of these enhancements in due course. I hope that they will spur the financial industry to continue investing in training even as they adjust their manpower need; and that financial practitioners will keep their skills relevant and position themselves well for a recovery.  


9   In concluding, may I congratulate SCB and SMU for your partnership in this programme. It harnesses the respective strengths of both institutions in delivering a programme that is effective and accredited under the FICS framework. I look forward to see greater training collaborations between industry and academia. 

10   On this note, I wish all graduates, every success in your careers. Thank You.