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Net increase of 7,800 jobs in financial industry in last 2 years: MAS

Singapore

THE number of net jobs created for Singapore's financial industry is set to exceed the 8,000 target by year end - and the nation is just halfway through its efforts to transform its financial industry.

There was a net increase of 7,800 jobs in financial services and FinTech over 2016 and 2017, close to the target of 8,000 set under the five-year Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the financial services sector, noted Ravi Menon, Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director on Wednesday. He was speaking at MAS' annual report media briefing.

The ITM sets out strategies to make Singapore a leading global financial centre in Asia.

The targets over the five-year period from 2016 to 2020 were value-added growth in financial services of 4.3 per cent per annum and the creation of 3,000 net jobs in financial services and 1,000 net jobs in FinTech per annum.

Financial services, defined as the finance and insurance industry excluding holding companies, grew an average of 3.3 per cent a year in 2016 and last year - below the five-year target of 4.3 per cent per annum.

Financial services growth was very weak in 2016, at just 1.8 per cent, reflecting slower regional growth and trade, but growth rebounded strongly to 4.9 per cent last year, driven by the strong performance of the fund-management segment and steady growth in financial intermediation, he said.

"The growth momentum has been sustained in the first half of this year and we are looking at another good year for financial services. We remain confident of meeting the five-year average growth target of 4.3 per cent."

FinTech contributed close to 2,000 of the net jobs created in the past two years.

"Job growth was mainly driven by the insurance and fund-management industries, and, to a lesser extent, by the banking industry."

IT has emerged as a key functional area driving hiring demand across financial services. Some of the fastest growing job roles are in software development, cyber security, data analytics, artificial intelligence and business-process engineering, said Mr Menon.

"MAS expects job growth in financial services this year to exceed the ITM target," he said.

Some 27,000 financial industry professionals have benefited from SkillsFuture programmes between 2016 and last year.

There remains, however, a shortfall of specialised talent in IT, he said.

MAS, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) and institutes of higher learning are working together to deepen the local IT talent pool at the entry level. IBF is engaging financial institutions on developing local IT talent through company-led training and professional conversion programmes (PCPs).

More than 3,000 consumer-banking employees will be put through a PCP in the next two years to equip them with skills in sales, product development and digital engagement.

PCPs are also in the works for two more areas in banking - wealth management and operations and support, which is undergoing disruptive change, he said.

IBF will launch a dedicated career centre next month; it will offer integrated support across career planning, skills development and job placement, he said.

"While the financial industry continues to create jobs on a net basis, there is a lot of churn and movement in the industry. Skills development, career pathways and job placements need to be looked at holistically."

Singapore continued to do well in asset management, with assets under management (AUM) increasing by an average 12.7 per cent per annum over 2016 and 2017, he said.

Growth was robust across both traditional and alternative assets, on the back of higher valuations and continued inflows to Asian markets.

Singapore continues to attract global asset managers, he said noting that AIA set up its first group-wide regional investment hub here.

Alternative AUM grew by an average of 16.9 per cent over 2016 and 2017, led by venture capital and private equity. There are now about 220 venture capital and private equity (PE) managers in Singapore; the majority of PE managers are focused on growth and buyout strategies. Around 85 per cent of their investments are across Singapore and the region, targeting higher growth sectors such as consumer and retail, healthcare and IT.

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