Owning a multifaceted skill set is key to a sustainable career in financial services.
Being an expert in a single field is no longer enough to sustain a career in financial services, as technology redefines the talent requirements of this industry. Financial institutions (FIs) are increasingly seeking individuals with cross-functional capabilities and digital competence to power their businesses.
According to The Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore, financial practitioners need to equip themselves with future-enabled skills alongside the increasing digitalisation of the industry.
Here are the six most sought-after hybrid skills that will help you stay relevant in tomorrow’s financial services market.
With promising technologies such as blockchain, APIs, DevOps, Machine Learning and Internet of Things making their way into the financial industry, financial professionals should be aware of how these could be relevant and applied in their area of work. For example, blockchain, which is essentially a shared and immutable digital ledger of transactions, could reduce frictional costs in the provision of trade finance by removing the need to verify and maintain separate records.
Using data in decision making
Data and analytics have become a core component in financial services. To support the increasing use of data in decision making, FIs are looking for people who can complement domain expertise with data discovery and data management skills.
Emerging technologies and changing consumer behaviours are forcing traditional FIs to rethink their product-based approach. To remain competitive, they need to better engage with customers and deliver tailored products based on consumer needs.
This shift in focus requires human-centred design, which refers to the ability to design products and services from a customer’s perspective. Financial professionals with this expertise will be able to anticipate changes in customer preferences and ambitions, and refine or redesign customer experience across both physical and digital touchpoints to continue to appeal to the customer.
Many FIs have already embarked on this. For example, DBS opened DBS Asia X last year with the objective of creating joyful customer experiences. This innovation space allows employees to experience simulated customer journeys and thereafter propose improvements to a process or develop new products.
The ubiquitous use of smartphones and tablets clearly indicates that mobile has become a primary platform of engagement for today’s customers. In order to reach out directly to customers, FIs have been growing their digital presence through mobile advertising and social media channels.
Financial professionals need to have an understanding of how they can engage their customers through various social channels. For instance, this can be done by specifically targeting networks where their clients or potential customers are most active. They also need strong storytelling and visual communication skills to deliver meaningful and engaging digital content.
Agile and entrepreneurial thinking
Most FIs realise that to compete against the more nimble fintech players, having staff with an agile and entrepreneurial mindset is imperative. Such employees are better able to anticipate changing trends in an uncertain business environment and help organisations to act and make the most of the situation.
For instance, BNY Mellon encourages experimental thinking among its employees through a number of avenues such as innovation jams, hackathons and an annual innovation competition.
Risk and governance
Other than embracing the opportunities of digitalisation, FIs are also preparing for the challenges that come along with it. As technology becomes more prominent in their business models, there is a growing need to systematically address digital risks, such as cyber security and to adhere to laws on privacy and data handling.
Financial professionals need to recognise and understand these emerging risks and be in a position to help put in place adequate controls and governance models to mitigate these risks.
In a world where lines between specialised skills have started to blur, acquiring these hybrid capabilities will not only make financial practitioners more versatile, but also ensure their continued relevance in a fast transforming market.
Are you armed with these skill sets? To find out about learning opportunities in these new areas, click here.