The surprisingly hot Singapore finance job for the Covid-19 era and beyond

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The surprisingly hot Singapore finance job for the Covid-19 era and beyond

If you are a finance professional in Singapore looking to equip yourself with new skills for the current job market and the post-pandemic one, you might want to consider whether your firm has any opportunities in green and sustainable finance, or impact investing.

Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), gave an online speech earlier today in which she said Covid-19 has given extra impetus to this expanding sub-sector within the Republic’s finance industry. And when MAS lends its support to something – fintech is a prime example – an increase in job numbers is never too far away.

“We encourage the financial sector and corporates to work in tandem with MAS’s green finance efforts,” Loh told the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network virtual conference. “On this front, we have seen encouraging developments even in recent months. Global banks like Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have pledged to increase sustainable financing flows,” said Low, whose key note speech has just been posted on the MAS website.

In Singapore, bankers with experience in the bond market and loan market are among those best placed to steer their careers towards sustainable finance. MAS expanded its sustainable bond grant scheme last year to support not just green but also social and sustainability bonds. Loh said OCBC and DBS have recently worked with the National University of Singapore to help it issue a S$300m green bond.

Meanwhile, CapitaLand has raised S$1.5bn through sustainable finance so far this year, including a S$500m sustainability linked loan from UOB two weeks ago. MAS is now developing a green and sustainability loan grant scheme, which aims to defray the costs of external review and bank frameworks, and to encourage bankers to integrate sustainability issues into their financing decisions, said Loh.

Experience in sustainable financing could also stand you in good stead on the buy-side. “Moving beyond bonds and loans, asset managers should seize this opportunity to launch robust green and sustainability focused fund strategies, in anticipation of rising demand from investors in a post-Covid-19 world,” Low told the virtual conference.

Since the onset of Covid, 24 of 26 Morningstar sustainable index funds outperformed their closest conventional counterparts, while global sustainable open-ended funds registered net inflows of US$40bn in the first quarter, a 40% year-on-year increase, despite a weakening in global market conditions.

Foundations, trusts, and family offices are also “well placed to drive positive change” through their investments and business operations, said Loh. “Allocation to impact funds managed by private equity and venture capital managers will allow investors to make a positive impact, while generating market competitive financial returns,” she added.

If you are interested in jobs focused on sustainable finance in Singapore, MAS is launching a consultation paper on environmental risk management guidelines for the banking, insurance, and asset management sectors later this year. “These guidelines will set standards on governance, risk management, and disclosure, to enhance the financial system’s resilience to environmental risk,” said Loh.

Photo by Joe Green on Unsplash

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