MAS, NTUC and finance sector join hands to help industry workforce upgrade and retrain

MAS and the NTUC have joined hands with the financial industry to help Singapore's financial workforce upskill and adapt to the changing manpower landscape.
MAS and the NTUC have joined hands with the financial industry to help Singapore's financial workforce upskill and adapt to the changing manpower landscape. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the NTUC have joined hands with the financial industry to launch a string of initiatives to help Singapore's financial workforce upskill and adapt to the changing manpower landscape in the sector.

A Financial Sector Tripartite Committee (FSTC) has been set up to oversee the efforts, the MAS and NTUC announced on Wednesday (Feb 17) during the Lunar New Year lunch hosted by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).

The FSTC arrives at a time when Singapore's financial sector is going through a challenging period, with several rounds of job cuts announced by global banks here over the past year to downsize and save costs amid a gobal slowdown.

The emergence of financial technologies has further increased the complexity in the sector, changing the manpower needs of the financial industry and reducing the demand for rank and file workforce.

The FSTC will set up a Financial Industry Career Advisory Centre in April to guide new entrants keen to join the industry or professionals wishing to switch to new jobs within the financial sector. The centre is supported by NTUC U PME Centre and the ABS.

The Institute of Banking and Finance, which provides training and competency certification to financial professionals, will also review its programmes and develop career progression pathways that fit the sector's transformation.

The third front of the committee's initiatives is to foster a mindset change in the financial workforce that will embrace upskilling and reskilling. NTUC e2i will lead the programme, and DBS, OCBC and UOB will participate next month.

Increasingly the emphasis will be on cross-functional capabilities, MAS deputy managing director Jacqueline Loh said during the lunch. Ms Loh co-chairs the FSTC with NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay. 

"Financial institutions will demand a greater range of skill sets ranging from experts who can understand customer psychology and create human centric designs and applications, to professionals who can combine strong business knowledge and data analytical skills," Ms Loh said.

The FSTC is a timely initiative in response to the challenges, Mr Tay told The Straits Times.

"This is the first big joint effort by the government, the labour movement and the financial sector to tackle talent issues.

"We see a gap, a mismatch between the workforce and the actual job opportunities in the financial sector. It's a long process, and we can't yet say that gap is shrinking. That is why the committee is important, to ensure we are on the right track," Mr Tay said.