Committee set up to tackle banking labour issues

by Miklos Bolza19 Feb 2016
The financial sector, government and labour movement have come together to establish the Financial Sector Tripartite Committee (FSTC) to help employers and employees in the current market environment.
 
The FSTC was set up by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). In its first phase, it will partner with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) as well as NTUC’s Financial and Business Services Cluster of unions.
 
“The job landscape in the financial sector has become more fluid and dynamic... [The workforce] must be ready and willing to adjust to new demands and requirements,” said Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director of MAS, at a lunch event organised by the ABS on Wednesday (17 February).
 
Loh co-chairs the FSTC with NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay.
 
As part of the initiative, the ABS has set up the ABS JobsBoard accessible by HR personnel in all member banks. Through the site, employers can advertise openings to other banks. There are presently 96 job postings by four banks on the board.
 
In the event of a layoff, the site allows one bank to approach another and recruit the affected employee. Although layoffs have been in the news quite frequently lately, it is not all bad news for Singapore’s banking sector, said Loh.
 
“Even as some global financial institutions undertake restructuring efforts, other banks continue to hire. We also see strong demand for good talent in key areas such as asset and wealth management, insurance, compliance and risk management.”
 
The FSTC will also work closely with the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) to review the institute’s current training programs and develop new courses and certification to match current sector needs.
 
The committee will especially focus on new competencies required in Singapore such as data analytics and risk management. Structured career pathways will also be developed to cater for changes in fields such as consumer banking.
 
The third initiative of the FSTC is a program aimed at developing employee mindset and skill upgrading to help the financial sector adapt and become more resilient. Singapore’s big three banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB, will take part next month.
 
While initially focusing on the banking sector, the FSTC will later expand into the insurance and asset management industries as well.
 
“Our financial sector workforce must prepare for an operating environment that is increasingly competitive and driven by technology. The formation of the FSTC is therefore timely. It will harness and synergise the efforts of the various bodies involved to build strong capabilities in our financial sector professionals and help them develop meaningful careers,” Loh said.
 
How the banking industry evolves to new digital changes will affect how successful it is in the coming years, said Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and CEO of UOB and chairman of the ABS.
 
“Bankers must stay relevant in the face of rapid changes brought on by increasing connectivity and changing consumer behaviour. This latest initiative by the industry in collaboration with MAS and NTUC is aimed at helping our people adapt to the changing landscape, through skills enhancement and acquisition, professional guidance and sharing of career opportunities.
 
“These efforts build on the foundation that ABS has laid over the years in developing a deep local talent pool so that we all serve our customers with the highest professional standards.”
 
Related stories:
 
Singapore banking giants challenge global firing trends
 
Beyond Singapore: Other talent magnets emerging in Asia
 
Is banking a “stepping stone” career?

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