FinTech Jobs & Trends in Singapore: Automation Investigation

In this article, examine the coming Banking and FinTech trends in Singapore and various jobs in Singapore's Banking and FinTech industry with us.
FinTech jobs and trends in Singapore

Welcome to the second part of our Automation Investigation Series. In our previous article, we covered the future of part-time jobs in Singapore. In this article, we’ll be looking at the current and upcoming FinTech jobs and trends in Singapore.

The banking industry worldwide has undergone some rapid changes in recent years in response to disruptive technological advancements. This evolution of financial technology has led to the creation of the FinTech industry and a crossroads between finance and technology.

With banking’s customer base increasingly adopting bleeding-edge technologies, such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and individual investment apps, financial institutions have had to drastically change how they approach providing the personalized and modern banking experience their customers want.

Just under 90% of incumbent financial institutions expect at least some of their current business to be lost to FinTech companies in the near future. In reaction to this potential loss of business, 77% of these businesses will be rapidly increasing their focus on internal FinTech investment over the same period.

Given the rising importance of pursuing new financial technologies, it is unsurprising that Investment in FinTech has also skyrocketed in recent years. Global FinTech investment reached $44 billion in 2020, a 14% increase on the spending total for 2019. FinTech startup companies acquired $25.6 billion in investments during the beginning of 2020.

The importance of Singapore as a regional FinTech hub has caught the attention of the global banking industry, resulting in a 700% rise in foreign venture capital investments since 2015. In fact, the total dollar value of seed/angel investments in FinTech companies based in Singapore was greater than those in both the U.S and China during 2019.

While the Covid pandemic has had a chilling effect on the global FinTech market, Singapore has proved to be remarkably resilient to the current crisis.

While the effect of the pandemic saw the value of other industries crash, 66% of FinTech companies actually saw an increase in demand for their services during the outbreak. Going forward, 40% of FinTech companies believed this sudden surge in demand will continue beyond the current pandemic.

However, FinTech continues to be a rapidly evolving and maturing sector, and the local financial services industry will need to rapidly adapt to future banking and FinTech trends in Singapore in order to stay on top.

Today, we’ll be looking at what those trends are, how businesses in Singapore are adjusting to overcome these challenges, and how workers can adapt to the knock-on changes to the employment market.

What Are the Top 9 FinTech Trends Coming in Singapore?

Given the scope of the Covid-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has had a significant impact on the global banking and FinTech jobs sector. The majority of the upcoming banking and FinTech trends in Singapore have been shaped by changing customer behavior patterns and the need for cost controls and business streamlining.

Outside of the impact of the pandemic, the primary drivers for disruption in the banking and FinTech sectors are the need to leverage the power of big data, and traditional banking institutions looking to expand into FinTech, either in-house or through collaborative partnerships.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the most discussed banking and FinTech trends in Singapore. These trends reflect how the global banking and finance industry is evolving to meet changing customer expectations and the challenges of a post-pandemic world.

A Customer-Centric Approach

The rapid growth and proliferation of FinTech jobs in recent years has created a crowded market where customer retention is the key to success. One of the primary FinTech trends to emerge in recent years is the need to provide a high-quality customer experience in order to remain competitive.

At the same time, modern digital customers have less and less patience for the lengthy process of form filling associated with the banking and finance industry. In response, FinTech companies are reassessing their digital offerings and the customer experience they provide.

A new emphasis has been on reducing friction and eliminating pain-points from the FinTech customer’s journey. To accomplish this, many FinTech companies are looking to create a unified digital solution. 

These new solutions streamline the customer experience and do away with tedious manual processes, replacing them with digital document viewing and signing, digital data capture, and increased automation to cover routine tasks.

A Focus on ‘Digital-First’

With the pandemic resulting in a rapid decrease in face-to-face interactions, customers are now looking for banks and financial institutions to provide them with user-friendly digital-first experiences.

Social distancing measures rapidly altered how banks and FinTech companies were able to interact with their customers, requiring an accelerated pivot to digital banking. Despite the rapidity of this change, customers still expect the same level of service, regardless of which channels they are communicating through.

Those banks and FinTech companies that are able to provide a reliable, easy-to-use, digital-first experience are poised to gain a larger share of the financial services market.

Just as customer expectations have changed in relation to the pandemic, how the FinTech jobs operate has also permanently shifted. Around 40% of employees are expected to continue working remotely on a semi-permanent basis as of the beginning of 2021.

In response to a more distributed workforce, financial organizations will need to implement accessible digital tools to allow communication, collaboration, and access to data. Those relying on workarounds run the risk of compromising their data security and increasing the likelihood of errors occurring.

The Importance of Big Data

Data management has emerged as one of the important FinTech trends for 2021 and beyond. Banking and FinTech companies gather huge amounts of data during their day-to-day operations.

This can be in the form of structured data, such as loan applications, tax documents, and bank statements, or unstructured data, such as customer feedback. Proper analysis and use of big data is key to identifying opportunities for growth and the optimization of services and products to meet changing customer needs.

To turn the raw data into actionable insights, FinTech companies are investing in data extraction apps that include image cleanup and text reconstruction functions to deal with damaged documents. Once the data has been extracted and sorted, artificial intelligence (A.I) has emerged as a critical tool for big data analytics.

Using A.I to analyze data means companies can free up skilled staff from basic data analytics and continue to extract insights from data on a 24/7 basis.

Future Crisis Proofing

The Covid-19 pandemic highlights endemic weaknesses across a huge range of industries. Many businesses are now scrambling to future-proof their operations against similar crises down the line.

However, many financial institutions are now looking at implementing electronic data capture processes and paperless mechanisms to pandemic proof their services. New solutions need to be created that aren’t reliant on pen and paper or face-to-face meetings in order to onboard new customers or serve existing ones.

Collaborative Partnerships

With 90% of incumbent financial institutions expecting to lose some of their business to FinTech companies in the near future, many are looking to partner with innovative FinTech startups. These collaborative partnerships allow established banking institutions to reach new customers through new channels and offer funding and stability to new startups.

However, in order to facilitate these partnerships, both banks and FinTech startups will need to invest in flexible software solutions that allow for open communication and data exchanges. FinTech developers will therefore play a key role in helping companies adapt legacy systems or create entirely new ones.

The Growth of Cloud Platforms

Cloud-based platforms have become a priority for many industries in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the changes created by the pandemic, many companies have brought forward or increased investments in cloud-based digital platforms.

Cloud-based products and services have become a significant banking trend as traditional banking incumbents look to claw back the market share taken by innovative FinTech companies in recent years.

AI as a Tool for Personalization

As we mentioned earlier AI is an excellent tool for data analysis. Less prone to human error, able to run constantly, and capable of freeing staff up for more complex tasks where the human touch is needed, AI is able to turn unstructured data into valuable customer insights.

Able to discern spending patterns, investment profiles, and specific financial situations, AI analysis arms companies with the data they need to fully personalize their services to each customer.

As a banking trend, greater personalization leads to better visitor engagement, an improved customer experience, better brand perception, increased conversion rates, and more effective lead generation and customer acquisition.

Fintech-as-a-Service Platforms

While the collaborative partnerships we mentioned above are an excellent opportunity for both incumbent banking institutions and innovative FinTech startups, the primary barrier to these partnerships working is often a technological one.

Fintech-as-a-Service Platforms bridge the gap between banks and their FinTech partners, providing a cloud-based platform that facilitates automated clearing house functions and transaction processing in a modular and scalable manner.

This allows mid-size banks the option to purchase the infrastructure needed to partner with FinTech companies without a time-consuming and expensive in-house development process.

How Are Businesses in Singapore’s Banking and FinTech Industries Likely to Transform Because of These Trends?

Now that we’ve highlighted some of the Banking and FinTech trends in Singapore, we’ll assess how Singapore’s banking and FinTech industries are likely to adapt to these changes in how the finance industry operates.

Greater Digitisation

Many of the trends we’ve listed above can be summed up under the banner of ‘greater digitization.’ In response to the need for stronger digital products and services, many companies will be looking to invest in developers or startups who can bolster their digital presence.

The movement of the Singapore financial sector towards greater digitization can be seen in the recent granting of the first digital banking licenses by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

These licenses will be granted to the consortium of Grab Holdings Inc and Singtel, tech giant Sea, the Ant Group, and a consortium comprising Greenland Financial Holdings, Linklogis Hong Kong, and Beijing Co-operative Equity Investment Fund Management.

Grab-Singtel and Sea will be licensed as full digital banks, able to offer bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and other traditional banking services. The Greenland Consortium and the Ant Group were licensed as wholesale digital banks with a focus on supporting small businesses. None of the companies selected will be required to have a physical presence in Singapore.

The pressure created by the inception of these digital-only banks will almost certainly increase the rate at which other banking institutions are forced to digitize their products and services or risk being left behind.

A Focus on Small Businesses and PMETs

Despite being a regional hub for the banking industry, around 40% of Singapore residents remain underbanked. As the market becomes more crowded with FinTech offerings, both new players and existing financial institutions will be looking for new customers and new market segments to expand into.

The most commonly underbanked segments in Singapore are professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs), who lack the time to browse for effective banking services and micro-SMEs and gig workers whose flexible incomes often disbar them from traditional banking solutions.

Newer FinTech companies are overcoming the traditional barriers faced by SMEs seeking banking services, such as lack of credit history, but using innovative solutions such as using users’ consumption habits to determine their creditworthiness.

As new companies actively target PMETs, gig workers, and SMEs, existing financial providers will need to adapt or risk losing access to a potentially valuable market segment.

Growing the Talent Pool

Traditionally, the banking and FinTech industries have recruited highly skilled workers away from their competitors. As Singapore continues to build itself as a hub for banking and financial services, continuing to expect to recruit from competitors could result in a significant skills shortage.

In response to this potential skill shortage, FinTech companies are rethinking how they handle their talent pipeline. In-house retraining and upskilling have become a primary focus for many financial services providers.

The benefit of in-house training is that it allows companies to create a more flexible workforce with the potential to fill any talent gaps and offer career development and retraining options as recruitment tools.

More Comprehensive Investment in Technology

In line with the move towards greater digitization, companies are expected to invest in the trend towards automation, cloud management, and data exchange, also known as Industry 4.0.

Three of the most common technologies in which the FinTech and banking industries are investing are:

Blockchain

As of 2020, the market share of blockchain in banking rose to 29.7. Blockchain’s ability to process instant, secure, and traceable transactions, without the need for third-party validation, offers the opportunity to make financial transactions more efficient and less costly.

Both FinTech startups and established financial institutions are looking to invest in blockchain technology, learning to a predicted 14% growth in Singapore’s blockchain talent market over the next five years. Additionally, 75% of financial institutions are expected to incorporate blockchain into their systems by 2021

The importance of blockchain technology in the growing FinTech market means that FinTech job roles such as blockchain engineers or blockchain project managers will be increasingly in demand.

RPA

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) or the use of software to automate repetitive and labor-intensive tasks such as simple data entry offers financial providers a range of benefits. RPA means these repetitive tasks can be run almost continuously without the risk of human error. Staff can then be freed up to take on jobs that require the human touch.

While greater use of RPA does result in a drop in middle-skill occupations that require manual labor, there is always a resulting rise in the number of high-skill occupations like software developers and computer engineers who design, create, and implement the RPA solutions.

Cloud Computing

Over the last few years, cloud computing has shifted from an industry buzzword to a $241 billion global industry. Within Singapore, the cloud industry is expected to add SGD41 billion to the total GDP and create 22,000 new jobs just over the next five years.

As most financial services focus on creating and integrating cloud-based services, cloud engineers and developers will also become heavily sought-after roles.

How Can Job Seekers in Singapore Respond to These Trends and Business Transformations in the Banking and FinTech Industries?

As a disruptive industry based on the intersection of financial services and technology, FinTech is a constantly evolving and maturing work environment. While the incumbent banking industry is more established, the disruptive influence of FinTech is causing many large financial institutions to pivot rapidly to avoid losing business.

The trends we’ve listed above represent an opportunity for job seekers in Singapore to position themselves in order to take advantage of newly valuable skill sets of training and advancement opportunities.

To help out, we’ve listed a few ways in which you can respond to these trends and business transformations in the banking and FinTech industries to make yourself more employable.

Position Yourself to Become Valuable

Education and upskilling take time and in a rapidly evolving industry like banking and FinTech it can be easy for your skills to become redundant much faster than in other industries. 

Thankfully the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry has created Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) for 23 industries, including finance.

The ITMs, developed in collaboration with small and large firms, Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs), and unions, highlight which skills and qualifications will be the most valuable across those 23 industries over the next ten years.

Using the relevant ITM to map out your education and training gives you a roadmap to building a valuable and sought-after skill set that will hugely improve your employability.

Be Open to New Career Opportunities

While a rapidly fast-paced industry like banking and FinTech creates new job opportunities as it evolves, grasping those opportunities means being flexible enough to take on new transferable skills and experiences and apply them to new roles.

While hard skills and qualifications tend to only apply to one role, cultivating softer skills such as the ability to work in an agile manner, open-mindedness, excellent communication skills, and adaptability are more transferable and add value to your resume.

Because FinTech is a synergy of two distinct sectors, having a background in either could ensure you a place in a FinTech company looking for specific skills. Having experience of working in a bank might be valuable to a technology-forward company looking for someone with experience in the banking industry.

Likewise, a skill set based on a deep understanding of a certain emergent technology, such as blockchain or AI, can make you very valuable to a company that seems to be wholly focused on finance.

Look at the Industry as a Whole

Understandably, many people looking for a role in the FinTech industry often assume you need to be an expert in finance or a certain technology in order to be employable. However, as with any industry, there are a multitude of supportive roles that are vital to the effective running of a business.

As Singapore continues to establish itself as a regional hub for banking and financial services, there will be an increased need for marketing personnel, HR advisors, risk management professionals, data analysts, customer experience designers, customer service representatives, and a whole range of other roles.

In fact, as the industry trends towards creating a more streamlined and personalized experience to suit the changing needs of the modern customer, many FinTech companies will require marketing and customer service experts as much as systems developers.

Which Banking and FinTech trend have you seen coming?
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What are the top future jobs in Banking and FinTech for 2021 and beyond?

Now we’ve given you some easy to implement tips on how to position yourself to take advantage of the upcoming trends in Singapore’s banking and FinTech sector, here are some of the most sought after positions in the industry for 2021 and beyond:

Cybersecurity Expert

Cybercrime is one of the most significant challenges facing the financial sector. Around 90% of financial institutions reported being targeted by malware in 2018. During that same time, Ransomware attacks rose by 350%, damaging business to the cost of $6 trillion annually by 2021.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, attempted cybercrime rose by over 600%, mostly in the guise of sophisticated phishing email schemes. Phishing emails are still the most common way in which cybercriminals gain access to restricted information during a data breach.  

Banks were the target 47% of financial data breaches, while the financial sector as a whole experienced 137 breaches in 2018 that exposed 1.7 million accounts. The largest data breach in the financial sector was the 2017 Equifax data breach that exposed the private data of 147.9 million Americans and cost the company $87.5 million.

The huge rise in cybercrime in recent years, much of it aimed at the financial sector, has led to a huge surge in demand for cybersecurity professionals. While the need for cybersecurity experts is at an all-time high, there are projected to be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021 in one of the largest skill gaps to affect the banking and FinTech industry.

Responsibilities:

  • Establishing internal control measures to prevent criminal activity and addressing any current or projected systems vulnerabilities.
  • Reacting to cyber attacks and putting in place proactive measures to prevent loss of service.
  • Continually developing security measures to combat new threats and new techniques being employed by cybercriminals.
  • Staying up to date with the evolving threat represented by malware, ransomware, phishing techniques, social manipulation techniques, and direct attacks.

👉 Browse Cybersecurity Jobs on GrabJobs

Blockchain Developer

Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain eliminates the need for third-party moderation, making transactions faster and more cost-effective.

The immutable nature of blockchain technology, combined with data encryption, makes sure data remains secure while the transparency of a public ledger increases visibility.

Streamlined, secure, and cost-effective, blockchain technology has become the basis on which many decentralized FinTech apps have been built and has multiple use-case applications across the entire industry.

Singapore’s blockchain talent market is expected to grow by 14% over the next five years in response to the greater demand for blockchain developers and, given the wider interest in blockchain across multiple industries, the qualifications and experience are hugely versatile.

Responsibilities:

  • Creating and implementing application features and interfaces using various programming languages.
  • Working closely with managers to map out the needs and functionalities for potential blockchain applications.
  • Maintaining client and server-side applications.
  • Educating sales and marketing staff on the benefits of blockchain and its ability to allow secure, anonymous, decentralized digital payments.

👉 Browse Blockchain Jobs on GrabJobs

Risk Assessors

The integration of the banking and FinTech industries through collaborative partnerships and the pursuit of digital bank charters has intertwined the two sectors in an unprecedented manner.

As with any unprecedented evolution of an industry, new rules and regulations are created and put in place to qualify how these new institutions are allowed to operate. As the industry evolves at pace, risk assessors are required to mitigate risks by understanding and ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations.

Additionally, as FinTech companies and incumbent banking institutions target underdeveloped market sectors, such as SMEs and gig workers, risk control managers are needed to develop new risk management strategies that account for new types of customers.

Responsibilities:

  • Conducting data analytics to identify current and potential vulnerabilities.
  • Putting in place risk management policies and reaction strategies.
  • Ensuring total compliance with all regulatory bodies and staying abreast of current and upcoming regulations.
  • Use anti-money laundering software and liaise with cybersecurity experts to help to prevent financial crimes.

👉 Browse Risk Assessment Jobs on GrabJobs

Data Analysts

The financial industry processes trillions of online transactions every year, including purchases, bookings, subscriptions, payments, transfers, and trades. As we mentioned earlier, big data analytics has become a major trend in the banking and financial services industry.

Data analysts are able to take the huge amount of data generated by financial companies and turn it into actionable insights that help to improve products, create new services and improve the customer experience.

A closely related field is that of data visualization, which is a mixture of data analytics and marking. Data visualizers use data-driven storytelling and insights developed from customer feedback to influence customer behavior.

While data analysts are in huge demand in the financial industry, the skills and qualifications are transferable to a huge range of sectors. 

Responsibilities:

  • Collecting and interpreting financial data and analyzing the results.
  • Identifying patterns and trends in discrete data sets.
  • Applying insights derived from data analysis to product and service development.
  • Creating new and innovative data collection and analysis procedures.

👉 Browse Data Analysis Jobs on GrabJobs

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Experts

With digital transformation being one of the key banking and FinTech trends to emerge in recent years, cutting-edge technologies such as AI and machine learning (ML) have gone from being science fiction devices to viable business priorities.

While true AI, the replication of human intelligence through software, is still far beyond our reach, current AI software, coupled with the ability to learn simple rules through ML, has a multitude of applications across the financial services sector.

At the lower end, chatbots and robo-advisors help to reduce staff costs and increase customer service coverage and customer retention. More complicated AI applications including using anti-money laundering transaction monitoring software that scans millions of transactions a day to identify criminal behavior.

AI integration into FinTech is still reasonably new, but its positive benefits are already prompting an increased demand for artificial intelligence and machine learning experts. Given the current rarity of this kind of expertise, there is already a skill gap developing, with 42% of organizations reporting a shortage of AI talent.

Responsibilities:

  • Use deep-learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to create AI and ML software solutions.
  • Create solutions to various business challenges using AI software.
  • Educate C-suite executives on the potential benefits and limitations of AI systems.
  • Provide training for teams on the best practices for the implementation and use of AI software.

👉 Browse AI Jobs and Machine Learning Jobs on GrabJobs

Quantitative Analyst

A quantitative analyst, sometimes known as a “quant” is a specialist data analyst who uses mathematical and statistical methods to solve financial and risk management problems. Quants create predictive models based on available data that banking and FinTech firms use to make business, financial, and investment decisions.

The role of Quant is the research,  development, and implementation of mathematical models that both identify opportunities for investment and ways to mitigate risk in an industry that is characterized by constant change and innovation.

While the role of a quantitative analyst is intellectually demanding, requiring the applicant to be able to thrive under considerable pressure with little or no oversight, the rewards for this highly-sought-after specialism can be significant.

Responsibilities:

  • Research and analyze data, trends, and statistics to make modeling decisions.
  • Develop and implement new model specifications and methods of data collection.
  • Present and interpret data results for clients and members of senior management.
  • Modify existing financial models that are in use to represent new insights or sources of data.

👉 Browse Quantitative Analyst Jobs on GrabJobs

Business Development Manager

Business development managers are responsible for the sales and marketing side of the banking and FinTech industry. Whether it’s an established banking provider with centuries of history or an innovative new FinTech startup with cutting-edge technology, somebody needs to sell it to the customers.

The role of the business development manager requires excellent communication and interpersonal skills along with a comprehensive understanding of the company’s products and services. You’ll need to be able to explain what your company offers and how it can benefit the client in terms anyone can understand and find attractive.

As a business manager, you’ll always be on the lookout for new markets, opportunities for new business partnerships, and exploring new ways to tap into existing markets.

Responsibilities: 

  • Use sales and marketing techniques to sell FinTech and banking products and services.
  • Research new market opportunities and develop them with proactive business models.
  • Develop new business accounts and nurture existing ones.
  • Present and explain complicated FinTech products and services in an approachable and understandable manner.

👉 Browse Business Development Jobs on GrabJobs

New Trends in Singapore's Banking and FinTech Industry Create New Employment Opportunities

The banking and FinTech industry in Singapore is booming. Having weathered the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic with remarkable resilience Singapore is now set to cement its position as a regional finance hub for the lucrative South East Asian market.

As the banking and FinTech industry reacts to global financial trends in 2021 and beyond, certain skill sets and qualifications will become highly valued in the new banking paradigm.

New trends like big data analytics will increase demand for data and quantitative analysts while the wider adoption of cutting-edge technologies like cloud-based platforms, artificial intelligence, and blockchain means that more positions will open up for experts in those areas.

By reading our guide, you’ll be able to position yourself to stand out to banking and FinTech employers and access some best banking jobs in Singapore.

So, whether you’re a graduate looking for your first job in the banking and FinTech industry or you’re looking for the information you need to develop your career, GrabJobs is here to help you thrive!

Ryan Reyes

Ryan is a die hard tech enthusiast with a great interest in all things recruitment. When he is not researching or buying the latest gadgets and software, he is busy writing about recruitment for GrabJobs.