Financial Services Sector Resilient Amid Uncertainty

Financial Services Sector Resilient Amid Uncertainty

FINANCE

Wednesday, 12 August 2020 17:40

Singapore Economy Experiences Worst Quarter on Record

This year, financial services sector growth has held up thus far, with retrenchment levels subdued, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

While Singapore’s economy took a hit in the first half of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and global uncertainty, the financial services sector grew by 5.9 percent year-on-year in the first half 2020, and employment rose by about 1,500, based on MAS’ estimates, with at least three out of every four jobs created going to locals, Jacqueline Loh, MAS deputy managing director (markets and development), said on Tuesday.

Retrenchments in the sector have to-date also been modest, Loh said, citing data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) which showed that retrenchment in the first quarter of 2020 for Finance & Insurance services was similar to the average quarterly retrenchment in 2019. However, she said new job creation in the financial sector is expected to be slow, while retrenchments are likely to pick up, given the challenging economic environment.

«The performance of the financial services and the sector’s employment situation could continue to be creditable under current challenging circumstances, but we cannot be complacent.  We must press on with the sector’s transformation efforts, in investing in the workforce for the future,» Loh said at the opening of a virtual career fair by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) for the financial services sector.

Three Priorities

In 2019, the sector accounted for 13.3 percent of GDP and employed more than 170,000 workers, or 4.5 percent of Singapore’s total workforce.

Loh reiterated MAS’ priorities for the financial sector: to keep workers employed while deepening their capabilities, expand opportunities for those aspiring to enter or re-enter the financial sector workforce, and ensure that financial sector growth is achieved in a way that is supportive of local employment outcomes. She noted that human capital is the «single most important ingredient of Singapore’s success as an international financial center in Asia,» and that MAS remains committed to work with partners on the Financial Sector Tripartite Committee, to protect, renew and expand local workforce capabilities.

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