Singapore wants to bolster its status as a wealth management and foreign-exchange center as part of plans to create more financial-sector jobs and mitigate the effect of rapid changes in technology.
In a plan unveiled Monday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said it aims to create 4,000 net new jobs in financial services and financial technology, and achieve real growth in the sector of 4.3 percent annually, faster than the overall economy.
“With technology transforming the way financial services are produced, delivered, and consumed, it is critical that Singapore’s financial sector also transforms, to stay relevant and competitive,” the MAS said in a statement.
Banks around the world are cutting jobs as the industry is transformed by digital technology, and the application of artificial intelligence and robotics. Vikram Pandit, who ran Citigroup Inc., has predicted some 30 percent of banking jobs will disappear over the next five years.
The MAS said Singapore aims to be:
A leading international wealth management hub. The MAS said it’s working with the industry to develop Singapore as a “centre of excellence for wealth management technology and innovation.” An Asian hub for asset management, and a place where more funds are domiciled A global foreign exchange price discovery and liquidity center in the Asian time zone. Singapore is currently the third largest foreign-exchange center globally. The MAS said it will encourage key participants to “anchor their matching and pricing engines here, to enable market participants to benefit from better liquidity and greater efficiency in executing FX transactions.”
Singapore is projecting a 4.3 percent annual growth rate for the financial sector through 2020, higher than the planned overall economic growth of 2 percent to 3 percent included in a set of national strategies unveiled in February. The financial sector accounts for about 13 percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product and employs around 200,000 people.
Assets under management grew 7 percent last year to S$2.7 trillion ($1.9 trillion), according to MAS data published in September.
It’s a good time to set financial sector priorities because the macro-economic environment is improving, said Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp.’s Chief Executive Officer Sam Tsien. “That being the case, it is even more important for us to get the infrastructure ready, so that we have the people, the technology and the regulatory-facilitating facilities,” Tsien said in an interview Monday.
The MAS is also working with the industry to:
- Build private market funding platforms to attract a wider network of investors
- Become a full service Asian infrastructure financing hub
- Become a leading center for Asian fixed income
- Attract global capital for Asian insurance and risk transfer
- Create common utilities including for electronic payments, digital ID and electronic know-your-client checks.