Refreshed financial sector plan aims to create 3,000 jobs a year

SINGAPORE – Setting up a digital platform for small businesses, positioning the country as a regional hub for philanthropy, and turning stocks, bonds and real estate into digital tokens are some of the new initiatives in Singapore’s updated financial sector transformation plan.

Led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the plan will ensure the financial sector grows by an average annual rate of 4 per cent to 5 per cent from 2021 to 2025 and create 3,000 to 4,000 net jobs on average each year.

The Financial Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) 2025, which was unveiled by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday, reinforces the goals set in ITM 2020.

It also lays out strategies to help the Republic’s financial industry take a leap into the future, and train a workforce that can tap the opportunities that the future holds.

But the primary goal remains the same – to maintain Singapore’s lead as an international financial centre that connects global markets, supports Asia’s development and serves Singapore’s economy.

The updated plan details five strategies to achieve that goal: enhance asset class strengths; digitalise financial infrastructure; catalyse Asia’s net-zero transition; shape the future of financial networks; and foster a skilled and adaptable workforce.

Within these strategies are several initiatives focused on further cementing Singapore’s status as a financial hub.

For example, while deepening capabilities in asset classes is an ongoing effort, aiming to become Asia’s centre for philanthropy is a new idea.

Many companies dwell in philanthropic activities on their own. Singapore will now invite financial services firms to offer them structured solutions to monitor the impact of those activities, as well as innovative philanthropy models.

In addition, Singapore will encourage private capital markets to offer credit to businesses. This would broaden the horizon for companies that are now dependent on funding from private equity and venture capital firms.

Promising financial technology start-ups will be incentivised to develop capabilities in new online technologies like Web 3.0, artificial intelligence and green fintech.

To digitalise financial infrastructure, MAS will promote the development of digital platforms for the bond market and funds industry.

Meanwhile, a digital platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will help them discover trade opportunities overseas.