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. There is no surprise then that driven, ambitious and highly-educated individuals flock towards the banking and finance sector, given its lucrativeness and slew of opportunities waiting to be seized. In this article, we lay out some professions occupied by the sector’s talents and some things you must expect with a banking career.

Professions in the Sector

• Tellers – These employees are at the frontline and have the most exposure to customers. They accept deposits, cheques and handle various customer service issues. Generally, teller roles are entry-level positions, but bank tellers are able to rise up the ranks to become the head teller and eventually assume a supervisory role.

• Loan officers – Loan officers play a key role in ensuring the bank’s continued growth, simply because banks generate profit by issuing loans. These loan officers are also responsible for opening transactional accounts such as savings or current accounts for customers.

• Investment officers – Licensed brokers are typically employees of a division of the holding corporation that owns the bank. These investment officers / licensed brokers have to pass a series of licensing exams before they are able to sell mutual funds, stocks and other securities. Investment officers receive commission for securities sales on top of their basic salary.

• Insurance officers – Insurance representatives are also employees of the bank’s holding corporation. Nonetheless, branches do have insurance sales goals and employees make referrals to insurance agents who work on-site. These insurance agents sell products such as annuities, life insurance and even health insurance policies. They are also required to pass licensing exams before being able to sell insurance.

• Auditors – Auditors are responsible for detecting fraud and clerical errors, as well as minimising the bank’s operational losses. High-level auditors are certified accountants who audit whole banking divisions.

Things to Expect

If you have friends in the banking industry, you would have probably already heard that a banking job is in no way an easy feat. For instance, investment officers are oftentimes required to attend consecutive meetings that can stretch from afternoons to late nights, due to their involvement with players in foreign markets. The bank also fosters a fast-paced work environment, and bank employees are required to constantly keep up with the high demands that entail such an environment. It can also be extremely pressurising to have to handle large sums of money that others entrust to your sacred care.

There is no doubt that banks are where the money is – and one with a banking career stands to benefit in monetary terms. However, be prepared to adopt an openness to unfamiliar experiences and challenges, and hone the ability to be sharp, resourceful and responsive to emerging trends.

Do you see yourself working in the Banking and Finance sector? What as? Or if you are already in it, what challenges have you faced? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

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