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Efforts in place to help employees be more versatile: Local banks

With the setting up of the new Financial Sector Tripartite Committee, industry observers say financial services professionals can expect to see more support in picking up new skills amid a changing environment.  

SINGAPORE: Local banks already have efforts in place to make their employees more versatile and facilitate their movements within the banks.

With the setting up of the new Financial Sector Tripartite Committee, industry observers have said that financial services professionals can expect to see more support in these areas.


Ms Cherlyn Toh was a human resources executive in United Overseas Bank (UOB) for about seven years. In June last year, she moved to the compliance team, where her new role is to design training programmes with a focus on anti-money laundering.

Ms Toh, currently the assistant vice president of group compliance at UOB, said she picked up the relevant skills and knowledge for her new position through various training programmes.

“Having moved from HR as a specialisation to a totally different specialisation, which is compliance, at the beginning, the learning curve was quite steep. To counter this, I've spent time reading about compliance subject, anti-money laundering, and going for external courses and internal courses,” she said.

As the industry becomes increasingly complex and competitive, some banks said employees need to be versatile and have breadth of experience. They said they have programmes in place to encourage internal mobility, even across different functions.

On average, DBS said one-quarter of its new job openings are taken up by existing employees.

“We have examples of people who move from support functions, or operations, to doing a front office role, like service relationship managers. Internal mobility helps to increase the skill set of the employee, as well as help the bank in terms of retention, so we don't lose the employee to another organisation,” said DBS Bank's head of Singapore HR, Theresa Phua.

Industry observers said such efforts by the banks will be further supported by the recently-launched Financial Sector Tripartite Committee, which aims to help finance professionals pick up new skills amid a changing environment.

The committee will be led by Monetary Authority of Singapore and NTUC, working with industry associations like the Association of Banks in Singapore and the Institute of Banking and Finance.

"We're mindful that training in itself does not lead to job offers being (put) on the table. A suitable employee is probably a mix of many factors including aptitude, experience, ability - beyond just functional competencies,” said Ms Ong Puay See, chief executive officer of the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore.

“But what we wanted to do is for an individual who is willing to make a switch to a different role, and who has been identified by his employer - either a financial institution or a bank - to make that switch, our job is to make sure that switch is made easier in a structured way with training programmes (that are) ready to support that individual," she added.

The institute said it is looking at ways to make its training programmes more accessible to working professionals, and extending some of them to higher education institutes.