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MEDIA RELEASE

Singapore Digital Banking Talent Report

Ethos BeathChapman’s insights on specialised skills and jobs that digital banks in Singapore will be hiring by 2021

Singapore, 5 March 2020 - Global executive recruitment firm, Ethos BeathChapman, today released insights on in-demand talent profiles, specialised skills and jobs that the digital banking industry will be hiring by the time they start operations in Singapore in the middle of 2021. 

With three months to go before the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) awards successful applicants with licenses to operate as digital-only full banks and wholesale banks in Singapore, the report reveals that digital banking contenders have already started making critical hires.

These critical hires within digital banking cut across the technology, risk management, legal, compliance, audit, sales and marketing functions. Not surprisingly, digital, data and technology skills emerged as common requirements within these roles. 

For job seekers with their sights set on jumping onto the digital banking bandwagon, Ethos BeathChapman’s report includes advice to candidates within these functions on relevant areas to upskill and prepare for the digital banking industry. 

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​Digital Banking talent report preview

What we know to date and who contenders will be hiring 

By: Gigi Ng, Michelle Tay and Paul Clarke. Contributions from Linus Choo and Shalynn LerEthos BeathChapman

Digital banking in Asia and beyond
There has been a prevalent shift in the banking industry as consumers are increasingly looking for efficient banking options without the hassle of visiting a physical branch. Online banking has become the way to go for consumers to interact with the banks for a wide-variety of features. In the United Kingdom, digital banking started way back in 2015 with players such as Revolut, N26, Monzo. Digital banking has become an integral part of everyday life in Europe, with more than 80% of the people using the digital banking features at least once a month.  

In China, WeChat Pay and AliPay, backed by Tencent and Alibaba respectively, have resulted in a relentless pursuit of ‘cashless convenience’ as majority of the mainland Chinese transactions occur through mobile payment modes. While WeChat Pay and AliPay can be linked to various mobile applications, the reach of mobile payments extends to brick and mortar stores, from high-end fashion to vegetable stands at the market. 

In 2019, Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced eight virtual banking licenses. Piloting the entrance into a new era of banking is ZA Bank, who has started offering its virtual banking offerings as part of its soft launch in late Dec 2019.

In Southeast Asia, following closely behind Singapore’s digital bank initiatives are Malaysia and Thailand. The Thai government is beginning its efforts, starting with a review of its regulatory framework, data from non-financial touchpoints and electronic identification system. Malaysia is one step ahead and has already issued an exposure draft on the licensing framework for digital banks, with plans to issue up to five licenses.

Digital banking in Singapore: what we know to date

With 21 applicants in Singapore's digital banking race, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will be making a decision by June 2020 on  five applicants or consortiums that will be awarded with digital bank licenses. Out of these five licences, up to two are reserved for full bank licences and up to three for digital wholesale bank licenses. Successful applicants are expected to commence operations by mid 2021. 

All banking services will be done online. Customers will not need to head down to a physical bank branch to handle their banking transactions and enquiries. Digital full banks will service the retail banking segment of customers. On the other hand, digital wholesale banks will serve the non-retail segment of banking customers, such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), businesses, and other non-individual customers (with the exception of individuals placing fixed deposits equal or more than SGD 250,000). 

Singapore's digibank race has attracted a diverse group of applicants from varying industries - from telecommunications, gaming, insurance, property development companies, to retailers, ecommerce, technology and fintech players. 

Assembling the right skills

With digital-only banking just around the corner for Singapore, contenders know how essential it is to have the right mix of skills and specialists in place to hit the ground running come 2021. 

The talent race has already begun. With three months to go before MAS awards successful applicants with licenses to operate as digital-only full banks and wholesale banks in Singapore, we already see critical hires made and new jobs created by these contenders across the technology, risk management, legal, compliance, audit, sales and marketing functions.

Working for the "next big thing"
From the traditional banking community, there is keen interest to work on the latest state of art and cutting-edge projects, to be a part of this “next big thing”: virtual banks. 

Candidates are already making advances and enquiries about working for one of these 21 digital bank contenders before licenses have been issued by the MAS. Some have already made the move before licenses have been issued by the MAS. 

Clearly, this poses an issue if the hiring contender does not land a license to operate. Most contenders have alternative (and sometimes very different) products and solutions to transition into. Still, candidates must question hiring managers about contingency plans, and how they will continue to operate, should the unfortunate happen.

Amidst the digital banking hype and excitement, hiring managers and candidates alike recognise the need for sound guidance to make the right move in this talent race. Ethos BeathChapman’s transparent approach and expertise appointing mid-career and senior leadership across technology, fintech, legal, risk, compliance, banking and financial services can help you make the right judgement. 

Let Ethos BeathChapman help you navigate the competition. Consult our executive recruiters today for advice.


Related stories:

The Straits Times:  
Want job at potential digital-only bank? Ask this question first.

eFinancial Careers:
The hottest new jobs at Singaporean digital banks

Finews Asia:
How bank staff in Asia can future-proof themselves

More related content: 
2019 / 2020 Singapore Risk & Compliance Market Trends Report


About Ethos BeathChapman, EBC:

We are a global group of executive recruitment experts in Australia, Asia and EMEA, with a broader network beyond. Our multidisciplinary expertise covers corporate and specialised functions across Banking & Financial Services, Technology, Fintech, Legal, Risk, Compliance, Healthcare, Industrial, and Consumer recruitment markets, among others. 

EBC’s track record of mid-career and leadership appointments within banks, financial services companies and the fintech industry can help digital banks hire, attract, reward and retain talent across multiple functions. Our mid-sized agility and solutions-focused approach enables us to flex where traditional recruitment agencies have failed, and scale beyond the reach of small boutiques in developing HR solutions that meet the client’s unique needs. 

Established 2005 in Sydney, EBC today has six offices worldwide in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands and the UK. In 2017, we secured the strategic investment of Will, an international group of HR solutions companies. What this means to clients and candidates is the same EBC, powered up to provide a full suite of talent solutions through Will’s portfolio of companies. For more information: www.ethosbc.com  

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