Singapore's financial sector is on the cusp of a workplace revolution. A report by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) released on Tuesday pointed out that one-third of job roles in the sector will be transformed as technologies such as data analytics and automation replace certain tasks. Another half of job roles will be "augmented" as people use technology to enhance their performance. Comprehensive in its scope, the report examines 121 job roles across banking, capital markets, asset management and insurance, covering about 90 per cent of jobs in the financial sector. Automation has already made inroads into financial services, as bank customers would have noticed: Bank websites already use automated authentication, chatbots and remote customer-service officers to help clients. But automation is spreading into multiple areas across the front, middle and back offices of financial institutions and will potentially impact job roles ranging from those performed by relationship managers and investment advisers to compliance officers, loan evaluators, actuaries and more.
This industrywide transformation will lead to new challenges for the managements of financial service institutions as well as their workers and customers. The primary challenge for managements is workforce transformation, which as MAS managing director Ravi Menon pointed out must now become a "core capability". He noted that the traditional hire-and-fire strategy of recruiting new workers for emerging jobs while retrenching redundant staff will no longer work because the combination of skills needed for the new jobs will not be easy to find. It would make more sense to retrain and upskill. Moreover, it will not so much be jobs that will become redundant as tasks within jobs.