Training up in ops
A new industry-wide training programme aims to address Singapore's 'significant' shortage of middle- and back-office financial professionals.
The Operations Finance Preparatory Programme (OFPP) has support from several international investment banks, including Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS, who will provide employment opportunities to graduating students. Candidates must complete three modules within one year, covering topics including asset servicing, global securities operations and operational risk.
Unprecedented growth in Singapore's financial services sector, which accounted for 11.5% of Singapore's gross domestic product last year, has resulted in a shortage of qualified entry-level talent to support investment banking operations, says Paul Hedges, industry specialist at JPMorgan Chase. He describes the OFPP as a step towards further enrichment of the infrastructure of Singapore's growing financial services industry.
According to Chris Jay, associate director at executive search firm Charterhouse Partnership, the 'significant' shortage in back- and middle-office banking staff is forcing Singapore to look abroad for talent.
Jay says: "Ideally Singapore would like home grown talent but, due to a lack of supply, major foreign banks are searching further afield," to established markets such as London for qualified staff and emerging markets such as the Philippines and India where they can train potential candidates. The newly-launched OFPP will provide training to both local and foreign students.
Salaries have also risen as a result of candidate shortages in the infrastructure and support functions of banking, says Jay. Across Asia, pay packets have risen between 10% and 20% for those working in middle- and back-office roles.
Successful OFPP candidates will be awarded jointly by the Securities and Investment Institute, a professional body for financial market professionals in th UK, and local body ACI Singapore.