Singapore needs to rapidly re-skill its workforce to cope with disruption in the FinTech sector, the country’s Chief FinTech Officer said yesterday.

“There will be severe market disruption in Singapore, if we don’t get ourselves quickly upgraded,” Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore, said.

Singapore is the third largest financial hub in the world. Financial services brought in 12.6% of the country’s GDP in 2015, according to government statistics. “If this disrupts, we have a serious issue in Singapore,” he added.

Singapore must produce new ideas and build companies using FinTech to stay ahead of the game, Mohanty urged. “IP and ideas have to be registered here; experiments have to start from Singapore; startups have to start building a new economy out of Singapore,” he said.

MAS yesterday signed agreements with the country’s five polytechnics to review their curricula over the next three years, and ensure graduates have skills to enter jobs in the FinTech sector.

MAS will facilitate internships for its students with startups, banks’ innovation units, venture capital firms and regulatory bodies. It will also work with the polytechnics to build a pool of 100 mentors for students, and facilitate joint projects between students and industry partners.

MAS and polytechnic representatives

“We are not trying to build a FinTech diploma,” said Clarence Ti, Principal of Ngee Ann Polytechnic – the skills coordinator for the financial services sector.

Instead, FinTech companies will need skills from across different disciplines including tech, entrepreneurship, design, digital marketing and social media, he said. “Let’s try to build a wealth of talent through many of our diplomas that can be deployed for this sector.”

Existing manpower will also need to upgrade their skills with “deep technology expertise and cognitive skills”, Mohanty added. The central bank is working with universities to “create a curriculum for a short course for mid-level executive and senior executives [which] we will shortly announce”, he said.

In particular, “we should start teaching existing manpower cognitive skills [and] design thinking skills, because that will go as an input to create value [for the economy]”, he added.