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The must-read Singapore banking career guide that could stop you getting laid off

Are you worried that the robots are coming for your banking job in Singapore? Fear not: a new government-backed guide has been launched to help finance professionals plan their careers over the long term, and avoid their roles being automated.

The Skills Framework for Financial Services was developed by the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore (IBF), alongside government bodies the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore.  

In April, a lengthy and rather downbeat IBF/MAS report found that 100 out of 121 jobs in the finance sector will be displaced or changed by technology. The new framework provides at least a partial antidote – it sets out information on career paths, job descriptions, skills and training programmes across financial services, so people can “make informed decisions for career development and skills upgrading”, according to a media statement.

The Singapore government expects the framework will be the “reference standard for the financial services industry” and is encouraging finance professionals to get to grips with it. This is probably good advice, given that the framework builds on previous IBF standards that have been adopted by almost all major financial institutions.

These new guidelines aren’t just window dressing. If you don’t study them, then be sure that your bank (and banks you want to work for) will. UOB has already committed to integrating the new skills framework into its employee training programmes, and the government is encouraging other firms to follow suit.

Only time will tell whether the framework helps to solve skills shortages in the Singapore banking sector. Sought-after skills can change rapidly in an industry as vulnerable to economic and technological headwinds as financial services. However, it’s safe to say that the government has avoided the common pitiful of creating career guidelines that are too generic – the framework is nothing if not detailed.

If you’re a student or recent graduate and want to know about pretty much every job in the finance sector, you can download a pdf booklet guide to the framework here. Set aside some reading time – it runs to almost 200 pages.

If you want to know the skills, job descriptions and career paths in specific jobs, you can dip in and out of the guide. The new framework divides up the Singapore finance sector into six career “tracks”: 1) sales, after sales, distribution and relationship management; 2) trading and execution; 3) product solutioning and management; 4) operations; 5) digital and data analytics; and 6) risk, compliance and legal.

These collectively contain 157 jobs – and there’s an information page devoted to careers in each one. If you want to be a quantitative trader, for example, you’ll find a list of the technical skills required, including “data analytics and computational modelling”.

Meanwhile, the framework also maps out these job functions within sub-sectors of financial services: retail banking; corporate banking; investment banking; private banking and wealth management; asset management; and insurance.

There’s a separate careers flow chart for all six sub-sectors. You can download it from the SkillsFuture website or access it via this online interactive version. The careers map for investment banking, for example, shows you how you could progress up the IB ranks in your current job function, such as a research analyst becoming a head of investment strategy. It also plots out so-called “lateral” moves between different functions that demand similar skills, such as a data analyst shifting into a compliance analytics job at an investment bank.

Image credit: recep-bg, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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