FSDF grants support a wide range of initiatives across talent development, technology and innovation, financial sector activities and consumer education. In the past year, FSDF also funded initiatives to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 related initiatives
In April 2020, FSDF launched a to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support package comprised new schemes to support digitalisation in smaller financial institutions and FinTech firms, as well as enhancements to existing training and talent development programmes. These initiatives supported financial institutions, FinTech firms and individuals within the financial services sector in navigating the economic downturn, to enable Singapore to emerge stronger as a global financial centre in Asia.
- Enhance Employability and Maximise Opportunities of Local Workforce
The S$125m support package allowed the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) to increase training subsidies, introduce a training allowance grant and provide training support to FinTech firms. With these enhancements, training participation has increased by at least 60% on a year-on-year basis. This represents an increase from about 75,000 courses taken up in 2019 to about 120,000 in 2020.
The was also enhanced. FAMS aims to train Singaporeans for future specialist and management roles in the financial sector through structured programmes offered by FIs. With changes to the assessment criteria to facilitate participation by smaller firms, and increased monthly salary funding, close to 400 Singaporeans benefitted from FAMS in 2020.
- Strengthening Digitalisation and Operational Resilience
The support package also included a new to help smaller financial and fintech firms adopt and collaborate on digital solutions, in order to strengthen the firms’ operational resilience amid the pandemic as well as enhance their process efficiency, risk management and customer service. More than 500 DAG projects were supported during the year.
The financial sector continued to create jobs right through the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. In 2020, financial sector employment created 2,200 net jobs, of which all went to locals. FIs have hosted over 1,600 trainees through SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Attachments track, which is under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
Apart from initiatives to sustain capabilities and opportunities in the financial sector during the pandemic, MAS also worked with IBF and the industry on longer-term strategies to build a strong pipeline of Singaporean specialists, leaders and other talent in the financial services sector.
- Talent and Specialist Pipeline Building
FSDF also launched the Work-Study Support Programme to encourage FIs to develop job-ready graduates through integrating classroom learning and on-the-job training for undergraduates.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant travel restrictions, fewer overseas postings were supported compared to the previous year.
Technology and Innovation
FSDF funds the development of a vibrant ecosystem for innovation through the , which has been in place from 2015 and enhanced in 2020. Under FSTI 2.0, enhanced support is provided for early stage experimentation of technology, adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the financial industry and building a stronger talent pipeline of Singaporeans for FinTech.
More than 40 projects had been supported under FSTI 2.0 in 2020 to facilitate innovation and development of industry utilities.
Significant projects supported by the FSTI last year include:
- Set-up of a centralised payments infrastructure enabling real-time transfers between bank accounts to e-wallets and vice versa;
- Development of an ESG data exchange platform to encourage capital investments into sustainable initiatives;
- Establishment of the Singapore Cyber Technology Operations Centre to anchor advanced cybersecurity functions in Singapore;
- Set-up of innovation labs by financial institutions, FinTechs and technology companies, as well as regional cybersecurity hubs; and
- projects to experiment, develop and deploy innovative solutions empowered by emerging technologies.
Financial Sector Activities
FSDF has continued to support a wide range of initiatives across key areas of the financial sector over the past year.
- Debt capital market: MAS supported new bond and insurance-linked securities issuances through the
In January 2020, MAS announced the expansion of the Asian Bond Grant Scheme to cover all issuers with an Asian nexus, and renamed the scheme as the Global-Asia Bond Grant scheme., , , and the . The ILS grant scheme has been extended for two years until 31 December 2022, given strong interest from industry players.
- Equity capital market: The was launched in February 2019 to enhance Singapore’s role as an enterprise financing hub by supporting listings on the Singapore Exchange. GEMS also supports training and research initiatives to strengthen Singapore’s equity research ecosystem.
- Foreign exchange market: The Foreign Exchange E-Trading Ecosystem Grant Scheme aims to build an FX e-trading ecosystem in Singapore through the setting up of matching engines by banks, inter-dealer and multi-dealer platforms.
- Fund Domiciliation: The was launched in January 2020 to promote the incorporation or re-domiciliation of investment funds in Singapore. There has been strong take-up of the VCC grant scheme during the course of the year.
- Green Finance: The , the world’s first grant scheme to support such loans, was launched in January 2021. The scheme also aims to make green financing more accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. FSDF also supported the establishment of the SMU-Imperial Singapore Green Finance Centre, the first research institute dedicated to green finance research and talent development in Southeast Asia.
FSDF continued to support consumer education initiatives. In the past year, 17 financial literacy workshops in primary and secondary schools, campus events and public seminars were organised to equip Singaporeans with financial knowledge and capabilities to make informed financial decisions in their daily lives.