PM Lee Hsien Loong delivered his May Day speech yesterday at the annual May Day Rally.
In his speech, PM Lee addressed challenges awaiting workers in Singapore. He also highlighted three examples of sectors which are transforming; transport, retail and logistics and banking.
Being a financial media site, we were intrigued by what PM Lee shared about technological disruption and evolvement in the banking sector, and what you, as a worker, can do to ensure you continue to remain relevant in the banking sector.
Here are 3 important trends that anyone who is working, or intending to work in the banking sector, should know about.
# 1 The Banking Sector Is Evolving
For those who don’t already know, the disruption in the banking sector has already been taking place for a long time.
As shared by PM Lee, “Banking used to be a brick and mortar business – go down to the nearest branch, queue up at the counter, produce your passbook or chequebook, and make your transaction with the bank teller.”
These days however, such scenes are likely to be the exception, rather than the norm.
The banking sector has evolved significantly over the past 20 years. Internet first gave consumers the ability to make transactions on their own, and in the convenience of their homes. These days, mobile banking has also become increasingly common.
This means that as mobile banking becomes more pervasive, banks will no longer need to have that many physical bank branches.
This is an important trend as it means many workers such as bank tellers, counter staff and call centre agents may need to reskill and redeploy for other positions within the bank.
One example cited by PM Lee is UOB’s Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), which is aimed towards retraining frontline officers to understand data analytics, and provide financial advice using digital platform.
Only time will tell if and how the disruption of the banking sector could impact jobs in the long-run. In the meantime, however, workers in the sector should strive to continuously learn, upgrade themselves and take advantage of career opportunities as it presents itself.
# 2 Fintech Is Here To Stay
Financial Technology, also known as Fintech, will be disrupting traditional financial services. PM Lee citied a few notable examples in his speech.
– Fintech firms that allow people to compare different insurance plans and to buy them online.
– Firms that will give you a discount or customise your insurance plans for you, if you wear a fitness sensor that tracks your health and lifestyle
– Robo-advisors that use artificial intelligence (AI) to offer you financial advice, tailored to your needs and circumstances.
While PM Lee did not cite any specific examples of companies in his speech, regular readers of DollarsAndSense and other financial websites will recognise some of these companies, initiatives and platforms.
Online insurance comparison firms that we have written about in the past include DIY Insurance and Insurance Market. They allow consumers to compare insurance plans across different companies, and to make their purchase online.
AIA, through the AIA Vitality, rewards its members with various benefits including premium discount for making good health choices in their lives.
Finally, Robo advisor platforms such as Stashaway, Autowealth and Smartly have made it easier for retail investors to invest directly into the markets.
Over the past two years, around 2,000 jobs have been created across Fintech firms in Singapore, and we expect this to continue growing in the foreseeable future.
If you are looking to join a company which would be in the next wave of growth in the banking sector, a Fintech firm would be one worth considering.
# 3 Mobile Banking Will Be Taking off…In A Big Way
In his speech, PM Lee mentioned that “mobile banking will probably take off in a big way in the next few years. In cities in China, no one uses cash; everyone uses WeChat Pay or AliPay for everyday transactions.”
Being a technologically advance country with a strong banking system, it’s not going to be difficult for Singapore to adopt many of these mobile payment systems which are already prevalent in other countries.
The question isn’t about if, but rather, when. PM Lee thinks this will be sooner rather than later. We agree with him.
In fact, our co-founder recently spent one week in Singapore without using any cash and did pretty well. You can watch his experience here:
Featured Image credit: DollarsAndSense
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