Singapore FinTech Association: fintech talent set to grow
More than 90% of fintech companies in Singapore plan to grow their workforce over the next 12 months, according to the Singapore FinTech Association.
The survey, published by the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and PwC Singapore on 19 August, also revealed that more than a quarter (28%) of respondents expect to double their headcount over the next 36 months.
At first glance the figures may not be that surprising. Singapore’s fintech sector continues to grow exponentially – analysis earlier this year from Accenture, for example, found fintech investments in Singapore to have more than doubled in 2018, reaching US$365mn. However, the SFA’s latest data highlights that the pace of growth isn’t expected to slow by those working in the industry.
The survey was launched to better understand the potential issues faced by industry leaders when it comes to possible shortages of talent to keep pace with market growth. It follows a 2017 survey that found talent shortages to be a major concern for fintech companies in the region.
The SFA found that, with hiring expected to increase substantially over the coming 12-36 months, the volume of businesses and employees in Singapore’s fintech sector will “increase substantially”.
Among the report’s key findings are:
- Singapore’s fintech sector employs between 6,500 and 10,000 people
- Employment in the sector is strong, with nearly half (43%) of respondents reporting 30 or more employees
- Talent shortages are “minimal” in the sector – 59% reported no talent shortfall and 21% reported a talent shortage between 0%-25%
- The average Singaporean fintech organisation employs 10.8 people. Key roles include: software and application development, sales, marketing and business development.
Chia Hock Lai, SFA President explained that Singapore is home to 40% of fintech firms in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and confirmed that “job prospects in fintech remain strong in the coming years, with demand coming from both local firms and international firms that use Singapore as their gateway into ASEAN regions.”
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In focus: Singapore FinTech Association
The Singapore FinTech Association is a cross-industry and non-profit organisation that supports the development of Singapore’s fintech sector and works to evolve the local fintech ecosystem. With more than 33 members it covers the full range of industry stakeholders, from early-stage startups and innovative companies to the larger service providers and financial organisations.
The SFA partners with organisations globally on fintech-related initiatives. In 2017 it launched its FinTech Talent Programme which, to date, has trained more than 125 fintech professionals in blockchain, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity and regulation.
Stripe backs Step - the digital bank for teens
The Series C round raised US$100m in capital from a number of backers, including Coatue, TikTok star Charli D’Amelio, actor Jared Leto, and Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, for the enterprise.
Step provides a free FDIC-insured bank account and Visa card to teenagers. The accounts are backed by Evolve Bank and there is no subscription charge for its usage. Users don’t pay for their accounts and there are also no overdraft fees.
The mobile banking app enables parents to set controls and limits on spending and encourage responsible finances. According to data released by the company, 88% of the platform’s users say this is their first bank account.
To date, Step has seen great success in the marketplace. The company has raised more than $175m from investors and now has 1.5m users.
Stripe, which was founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison, previously led Step’s $22.5m Series A round in 2019.
Step's Series B funding round also brought in $50m, and has a distinctly celeb-tinged reputation with investors including Justin Timberlake and the pop duo The Chainsmokers.
Users get access to a free, FDIC-backed bank account, a spending card and P2P payments platform to send and receive money instantly.
CJ MacDonald, chief executive of Step, said the company is aiming to improve the financial futures of the next generation. “Step is the only banking platform that enables teens to start building a positive credit history before they turn 18 and does not charge fees of any kind.
He has previously spoken about the importance of financial literacy for young people. “Money is just one of those things where I think the more educated and equipped you are early, the better decisions you can make down the road,” he told . “And you can also prevent yourself from making costly mistakes. I mean, the average American doesn't have $400 in emergency savings and pays $350 a year in banking fees. If we can help this next generation just ultimately be smarter and more educated as it pertains to money, I think we'll all be better off.”
Kyle Doherty, managing director at General Catalyst and Step board member, explained, “Gen Z is flocking to modern financial solutions that can be easily embedded within their digital lives and Step has a unique model for how to do this right.”
The news follows on from Stripe’s recent announcement that it plans to acquire TaxJar. The fintech, which builds software for online businesses that automates the reporting and filing of sales taxes, will most likely be integrated with Stripe’s billing services.
Currently, No terms have been disclosed but the Boston start-up had raised more than $60m from investors including Insight Partners.
Stripe chief financial officer Dhivya Suryadevara said of the move, “With TaxJar, we will help millions of internet businesses running on Stripe with their sales tax and make it easier for them to sell internationally.”