How is Singapore developing their next generation of Fintech leaders?
Although Singapore has built an ecosystem to grow as a Fintech hub, the city-state needs to create a pipeline of talent that would be able to sustain this growth. Apart from the creation of opportunities within Fintech, this pipeline needs to include students and the development of Fintech as an interesting field for them to take an interest in. As such, there have been significant efforts made to revise finance and business curriculums in tertiary levels and above, to meet the potential demand in this promising industry.
Here are some of the ongoing initiatives targeted for the future generations.
Fidor Bank’s S$800,000 investment in 5 polytechnics
Fidor has invested in five polytechnics so that students and lecturers alike are provided with an opportunity to develop Fintech applications with the use of Fidor’s API sandbox and fidorOS digital banking platform.
Supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Fidor Bank’s S$800,000 investment will enable Ngee Ann Polytechnic to launch an educational curriculum around Fintech but would require an additional S$160,000 to run. However, this investment will eventually boost this city state in its position as a Fintech hub in the Asia Pacific region.
This partnership demonstrates Fidor’s full commitment in the sharing of knowledge and support with the Fintech world - by supporting students who would be tomorrow’s Fintech leaders and entrepreneurs.
Apart from this, Republic Polytechnic has shared that three of their students from its School of Infocomm have embarked on an overseas internship that spanned across six months at Fidor. They are amongst 30 other Republic Polytechnic students who have served their internships in Fintech-related companies this year.
With Fintech rapidly forming and adapting the way consumers bank in Asia, especially with the rate of mobile adoption, financial technology becomes extremely necessary in the region. This has led to partnerships or acquisition that traditional banks would try to partake in an attempt to stay ahead of the game. Fidor for instance, are an extra step ahead as targeting the education system would provide students with the necessary skills needed to work within the digital era.
In addition to this, the support from MAS ensures a future for the Fintech sector.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Digital Banking Programme
Ngee Ann Polytechnic is the first of its kind to launch a digital-banking programme for 38 students from the Diploma in Financial Informatics, as part of the collaboration with Fidor. The polytechnic has also increased their intake size for the diploma from 80 to 100 students.
There has been an increasing trend of students opting for Fintech internships with start-ups and other financial institutions since 2016. About 20% of third-year Diploma in Banking & Financial Services students who have been on internships since October have taken up Fintech positions within organisations such as MAS, DBS and OCBC. In addition, the polytechnic plans to revise their next academic year's curriculum to expose students to Fintech and other industry developments from their first year.
Fintech degree programmes now offered at Singapore universities
The universities in Singapore have embraced changes brought about by Fintech by introducing Fintech related degree programmes. NUS School of Computing have introduced a new specialisation in Financial Technology as part of the school's Bachelor of Computing in Information Systems degree programme. It keeps students abreast of industry developments through collaborations with business organisations to develop Fintech-related modules. This includes modules on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies as well as agile IT, which are co-developed with the IBM Center for Blockchain Innovation and Standard Chartered Bank.
Singapore Management University’s School of Information Systems (SIS) have also revised its curriculum to create greater emphasis on innovative computing and information solutions for business and society. Starting from their third year of study, students under the financial-technology specialisation would be able to pick up skills such as evaluation of digital banking architecture and strategy, as well as assessment of the technology implications on large-scale change scenarios such as mergers.
Opening of Coding Schools
In support of Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative, there is the launch of two new schools – Alpha Camp and Byte Academy.
The New York-based Byte Academy believes that Singapore is an ideal place to launch its first international campus. The school is also on board for the Tech Immersion and Placement Program by the Infocomm Media Development Authority, which aims to convert non-ICT professionals into industry-ready ones.
Alpha Camp which currently have campuses in Hong Kong and Taiwan is now looking to train Singaporeans by having a campus in this city-state. According to Founder Bernard Chan, “Alpha Camp’s intensive programs are designed to train individuals, with or without prior knowledge and skills, to be technology-fluent and well connected within the industry.”
Fintech talent fulfilment in future
Fintech is a burgeoning industry that will allow Singapore to leverage on, especially in becoming the world’s first “Smart Nation”—a city-state connected and empowered by technology in all facets of everyday life.
As Singapore transits with a focus towards Fintech, niche employment requirements within skill sets such as digital banking, data analytics, cyber security, and application development would experience a surge in demand. However, the IDA predicts that Singapore would face a shortage of 30,000 information technology professionals with the right skill sets needed. This might in turn put an upward pressure on salaries for those with the relevant experience and skill sets.
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Sources: CNBC, Channel News Asia, The Straits Times, The Business Times, TODAY Online.