Developing future-ready skills key to financial services: MAS chief

Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the Milken Institute Asia Summit 2016 at Four Seasons Hotel.
Mr Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the Milken Institute Asia Summit 2016 at Four Seasons Hotel.PHOTO: ST FILE

Creating a workforce that has the digital skills and relevant knowledge is key to the future of the financial services sector, said Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon last night.

Mr Menon said one initiative to ensure these future-ready skills are developed comes in the form of new standards from the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF) that were announced at an industry awards dinner at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

The standards focus on areas like data science, human-centred design, tools for innovation, agile approaches to technology, and risk and governance in a digital world.

"These are the skills our professionals will need to thrive and grow in a digital future. They will complement the domain expertise unique to industry segments," noted Mr Menon, who is also IBF chairman.

A Learn@IBF mobile app to be released next year aims to complement the new standards. It will feature content from industry experts on topics and new developments that impact the future of finance.

Mr Menon also mentioned the IBF's recently launched MySkills Portfolio, where practitioners set training goals, track their progress and are recommended programmes based on their goals. It also serves as a repository of exams and training records.

The institute noted that key consumer banks have committed to train almost 3,500 staff over the next two years using IBF-accredited programmes. This will help workers move into expanding job functions such as analytics, quality assurance and sales.

Beyond consumer banking, there are plans to develop pathways for other functions in the financial sector.

The IBF also conferred the IBF Fellow title on 29 senior industry veterans for their contributions to the industry at last night's dinner.

Mr Lee Wai Fai, United Overseas Bank group chief financial officer, was named an IBF Distinguished Fellow.

He had started as a manufacturing accounting supervisor at Mobil, and worked his way up with stints such as two years in Thailand as deputy chief executive of a UOB Thai unit.

He told The Straits Times he had acquired a diversity of experience and deep understanding of the challenges of customers across the region, and that those who can analyse complex data sets effectively and garner deep insights into customer preferences and needs will be in demand.

The institute also gave Mr Benjamin Wong, 40, an OCBC Bank treasury sales manager, the IBF Aspire Award, which recognises people with outstanding results in an IBF-accredited training programme.

Mr Wong attended a three-month advanced wealth management programme last year, which he said contributed greatly to his learning experience.

"At the course, industry practitioners from different parts of the banks from private to corporate banking presented and it's the kind of exposure you won't get often," said Mr Wong, who wished such courses were available when he was a young banking executive.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 30, 2017, with the headline 'Developing future-ready skills key to financial services: MAS chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe