Industry Related (Banking & Finance)

Sectors in Focus (Banking and Finance)

By Deanna Bonaparte

Singapore’s prime location in the heart of Asia makes it an ideal place for investors to trade, do business as well as strengthen connections to other countries in the region. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the country is home to over 200 banks, a growing number of which have also chosen to base their operational headquarters here to service their regional group activities. Singapore’s banking sector has indeed been a critical factor to the growth of the local and regional economy. (Read More Here!)

Against All Odds


Left: Lexis Teo | Right: Timothy Tan

Life insurance offers dual benefits of savings and security. Yet the industry is often misconceived by the public. We speak to two representatives from Great Eastern to find out how they overcome this challenge posed by society.

By Mabel Tan

Insurance agents hold a tough but rewarding career. They face countless rejections from people who don’t know any better and might face scepticism from their peers who have preconceived notions about their job.

Yet, insurance continues to thrive in Singapore and is now a billion-dollar industry. This pie will only become bigger in the future as the country grows.

Meet two Great Eastern representatives who have managed to thrive in their career and are now reaping the rewards of their hard work and labour.

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A Fulfilling Career

Left: Carey Ang | Right: Gavin See

Prudential Singapore is one of the top life insurance companies in Singapore. With a rich history of 80 years, Prudential Singapore is still committed to serving the needs of its policyholders.

By Winifred Tan

Carey Ang
I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Management degree from SMU. In 2006, I started working as a Financial Consultant and became the top Associate Manager soon after. In 2010, I was also the winner of Rookie Agency of the Year and runner-up for Financial Services Manager. All these would not have been possible without hard work and a supportive and nurturing management at Prudential.

Gavin See
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics, I deliberated carefully on what I was looking for in a career. Practical considerations such as remuneration, career prospects and company stature formed part of my check list. I was also looking for a meaningful and fulfilling career that would enable me to chart my career path and make a difference to society.

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HSBC Asia Chief Peter Wong Keeps It Simple

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by Duncan Mavin
March 14, 2011

Just days ago HSBC Holdings PLC said earnings for 2010 doubled from a year earlier, to $13.2 billion, with Asia accounting for almost two-thirds of the profit. But Peter Wong, the bank's chief executive for Asia Pacific, is keen to stress the importance of cost control and measured growth.

"During a high-growth mode, we need to watch out for complacency, and not to grow the cost base in a very free way," says the 59-year-old Mr. Wong, whose 31-year banking career also involved stints at Citibank and Standard Chartered. "Right now, there's inflation in assets, in wages and food. So how do I make sure costs don't get out of whack?"

His cautious message echoes that of the new man in charge at HSBC globally, Stuart Gulliver, who said last month that rising costs at the bank were "unacceptable."

Still, HSBC has come out of the financial crisis in better shape than many of its competitors, and as head of the bank's Asian business, Mr. Wong is tasked with delivering rising profits in one of its fastest-growing regions. He spoke to Duncan Mavin in Hong Kong to explain how. The following interview has been edited.

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Getting a headstart with CIMA

Accountancy student Dickson Koh shares his thoughts on doing a self-study course with the CIMA.

By Jenny Mak

For most students, school holidays signal the time to rest and relax. But not for 24-year-old Dickson Koh, a second-year accountancy student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - he chose to take a self-study course with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

Dickson decided to enrol into a three-month course in Enterprise Operations which gives him a general overview of business covering topics ranging from logistics to human resources. Dickson finds this course helpful. “It helps (me) see the whole picture, how my job fits in the economic environment,” he explains.

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Accountants need to be soft to be sharp

By Mark Billington, Regional Director, ICAEW South East Asia

Accountants might be focused on numbers but they should not neglect the importance of soft skills in today’s complex business environment. With Singapore embarking on a journey to develop the accountancy sector, the importance of non-hard skills have also recently been highlighted by Education Minister Ng Eng Hen.

Not only are soft skills increasingly sought after by employers and could help you climb the career ladder, it is also a requirement for efficient dealings with clients, customers, regulators, managers and other stakeholders.

Obviously, having a well-respected qualification, such as the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant), is critical to build a successful career. However, that in itself might not be enough any more. If an employer has to decide between otherwise even candidates, demonstrating your softer skills might be the feather that tips the scales to your advantage.

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CIMA – The Choice

Backed by a reputation forged through 90 years, respected by contemporaries and renowned for its comprehensive syllabus, the CIMA stands out as a brilliant choice for leaders and professionals to get ahead.

By Azhar Jalil

“I think it’s important to have varied experiences, so that you come across as an interesting and well-rounded person during interviews,” Xie Jiayin says.

As a finance professional with Barclays Capital, the 23-year-old believes in higher and broader learning to upgrade her practical skills and improve on current knowledge.

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FIREfly-SPRING: Fuelling Growth

For one FIREfly scholar, a career at SPRING has opened many doors of opportunities – from an enriching overseas education experience to a challenging and fulfilling career.

By Lui Wen Qing

Kenrick Guo’s career at SPRING Singapore has seen him take on three different roles so far, involving two departments within SPRING and a secondment to a financial services company in the private sector.

This opportunity to be rotated among different agencies, departments, and even the private sector was the main reason why Kenrick chose the FIREfly scholarship despite having received other scholarship offers. The Raffles Institution (Junior College) alumnus says, “I valued having such diverse experiences that could give me a deep variety of breadth.”

In particular, he chose SPRING amongst other agencies under the FIREfly scholarship programme because he wanted to do something related to business, and being able to work with SMEs greatly appealed to him.

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