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21-04-2017
HK’s technology talent market more dynamic than ever before

Hong Kong employers are facing an even greater challenge to retain finance technology and IT talent this quarter with more candidates restless for new opportunities, according to recruiting experts Hays.The Hays Quarterly Report tracks recruitment trends in Hong Kong and reveals that technology candidates are upskilling in their own time in readiness for a job move from April onwards.“Many finance technology candidates are giving notice or planning to do so after receiving their annual bonus and this is only increasing the intensity of the hiring challenge for many employers,” says Dean Stallard, Regional Director for Hays in Hong Kong.“We are seeing an increasing number of employers recruiting from regions outside of Hong Kong, especially for newer technology skill sets as local candidates with the right skills are hard to find,” Dean says.One area which is primed ready for a period of active recruitment is security especially in banks and financial institutions. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s Cybersecurity Fortification Initiative requires financial institutions to fund additional resources this year to satisfy regulatory assessments and this is impacting recruitment demand.New talent is needed to fill roles including ethical hackers, IT security managers, IT risk professionals and, for those with the largest hiring budgets, more IT auditors as well. Other roles in demand over April to June include penetration testers to identify and create solutions to respond to threats/vulnerabilities.“In the digital technology talent market, java/core java developers are one of the roles in greatest demand this quarter to fill roles across all levels,” Dean explains. “Although smaller companies that don’t use Java are generating good demand for candidates with python, C# .NET, PHP."“Technical business analysts and project managers are also in strong demand to act as a liaison between business users and the technology delivery team. To succeed, candidates must not only have solid technical skills but also excellent communication skills.”We are seeing employers place greater emphasis on soft skills when hiring for a range of roles. Many candidates are studying in their own time to receive certifications in demand but investing some time in developing their soft skills will also pay off on the job market.“Looking at the wider technology talent market this quarter, we are seeing demand for data warehouse architecture or administrator candidates with skills in ETL and knowledge of business intelligence (BI) tools and or big data technologies such as Qlikview, Hadoop or Python/SQL,” Dean says.In the IT network and infrastructure space, network engineers with a background in CISCO and/or Juniper remain very much in demand.BI roles are also in demand and mostly permanent, but candidates should take note that employers are looking to hire those proficient in both Cantonese and Mandarin due to the volume of business taking place business is in China.Finally, with a number of companies in Hong Kong launching or planning digital transformation projects, we are seeing a number of head of digital roles coming to market.

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21-04-2017
Singapore’s top 10 IT jobs set for the biggest salary gains in 2017

Demand for highly-skilled IT professionals is heating up in Singapore, with salaries for specialized IT security professionals set to grow well above the national average, according to the 2017 Robert Half Salary Guide.The guide has identified the technology roles that can expect the highest pay gains in terms of starting salaries in 2017.According to the study, IT professionals can expect an average starting salary gain of 3.2% in 2017, which is above the national salary growth of 2.7% as identified by the Ministry of Manpower, suggesting companies are willing to pay competitively for top IT talent.With pay being a significant motivator in Singapore, about half (51%) of Singapore’s IT workforce believe they are not being paid a fair salary considering their job responsibilities, with just under half (47%) saying their pay is not in proportion with their daily workload.As technology is now a major business focus, workloads have increased, highlighting the need for companies to continuously review their staff’s remuneration packages to ensure high workloads are offset by a competitive salary.Compounding the need to pay competitively, independent Robert Half research indicates 92% of IT professionals say they are willing to accept a job offer with a higher salary if they felt they were not being paid a fair salary with their current employer, yet 70% are less inclined to look for a new job after they receive a pay rise. Pay and salary increases remain a primary motivator for Singapore’s workforce, also indicating IT professionals are more loyal to their company after a pay review.“Companies are increasingly implementing new and innovative technologies and demand for skilled IT professionals continues to rise, resulting in upward momentum on starting salaries for professionals in this sector,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director at Robert Half Singapore. “In a candidate-short market, Singaporean businesses are prepared to pay competitively to secure the best IT talent.”“With the growing risk of cyber-attacks, many businesses take a pre-emptive approach to cyber-security by either creating their own in-house team of IT security specialists or relying on security consultants. Companies realize they are competing for a limited pool of top candidates, leaving highly skilled and experienced Security Analysts, Security Consultants and IT Risk professionals across industries in a good position to negotiate above-average salary gains in 2017.”“Singaporean companies are currently in the race for digitization and those that are quickest to adapt and at the cutting edge of innovation will be able to gain the strongest market share. Because of this digital acceleration, the shortage of skilled IT professionals who are able to manage complex IT systems, data and analytics projects is becoming more apparent.”What are the top technology jobs with the highest salary gains?Protecting the integrity of both IT systems, networks and data has become a top priority of many Singaporean companies, and Security Analysts and IT risk professionals play a key role here, which is why they can expect above-average salary gains for the year ahead.Additionally, Big Data Specialists who are able to go above and beyond to support their organization’s enterprise infrastructure are currently in high demand yet challenging to find. Highly skilled Infrastructure Architects who possess strong leadership and communication skills to effectively lead a team and communicate complex IT terms, can also expect substantial salary growth in 2017.“The best way for IT professionals to increase their pay is to specialise their skillsets and become highly valuable to their organisation in an ‘add-value’ role. The most sought-after IT professionals, who are able to negotiate well above the industry average, are those who are familiar with new security software and hardware, experienced in Big Data analytics, and have been involved in a digitisation project,” Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard concluded.  

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21-04-2017
New business and compliance driving Malaysian banks to hiring mode

The latest Hays Quarterly Report revealed that financial institutions in Malaysia are in a hiring frenzy. Compliance to a raft of new regulations is a key driver of this trend, as is the rollout of new revenue initiatives including a greater reliance on data and analytics.Hays’ regional director in Malaysia, Tom Osborne (photo right), calls it a “very dynamic phase” and reckons it is not reflective of a seasonal staff turnover.“New regulations are influencing not only compliance functions but also operations, digital marketing, human resources, procurement, supply chain and legal so we expect a dynamic,” Osborne adds.The Right StuffOn the back of new regulations, financial institutions are taking a measured approach to new hires to mitigate impact to compliance functions covering financial crime, risk and anti-money laundering due to extra governance requirements by regulators.With regulators tightening Foreign Exchange Administration (FEA) policies for banks this creates more roles for operations FEA staff with knowledge of trade and cash operations to help fortify the bank’s first and second lines of defense.Revenue-generating initiatives also mean filling positions in operations, digital marketing, human resources, procurement, supply chain and legal.As with other markets around the region, financial institutions are beefing up their compliance teams even as they backfill roles across internal audit, investigation audit, consumer audit and treasury/investment audit. Internal audit capabilities are being scaled to focus on specific segments of the bank adding another layer of recruitment need.As banks develop their internal analytics capability so expect demand for this particular expertise to rise acutely in the quarters that follow. In hot demand are candidates with experience in credit risk modelling, model validation and BASEL-related skill sets.Other functions being filled in include relationship managers and credit analysts within business banking and corporate banking across both conventional and Islamic functions. These segments have been growing along with a focus on developing the construction & property portfolio to diversify the bank’s exposure and reach.“All this activity means candidates with well-developed stakeholder management skills and experience in project management and process improvement remain in high demand across the financial services industry too,” concludes Osborne.Click here for jobs listing.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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21-04-2017
South Korean hospital, Novotech team for clinical trials

The Asan Medical Center's (AMC) Clinical Trial Center in South Korea has signed a memorandum of understanding with Asia Pacific specialist CRO Novotech. The MOU formalizes Novotech's relationship with the South Korea’s largest medical institution and its principal investigators. Under the terms of the MOU, the AMC will provide professional and medical advice to Novotech for clinical trials conducted in AMC, including feasibility, principal investigator selection and assistance with patient recruitment. Novotech will help in promoting the clinical research capabilities of the AMC internationally. Both parties have agreed to continue expanding the future scope of the collaboration. "AMC has been very successful in delivering and supporting many complicated clinical trials, including early phase clinical trials,” said Young Suk Lim, director of AMC Clinical Trial Center. “Based on the MOU, the AMC is committed to increasing and expanding its global-level of medical and technological infrastructure, and continuing to deliver quality clinical trial support." Novotech CEO John Moller said they have worked closely with the AMC's Clinical Trial Center on many clinical trials over the past 10 years of presence in South Korea. "AMC's size, high-quality facilities and technological infrastructure are crucial in delivering speedy patient recruitment, quality clinical trial management and robust trial data. AMC has over 2,700 beds and the volume of available patients is huge by Western standards,” said Moller. “Other elements which contribute to South Korea being a leading destination for clinical trials include its efficient regulatory environment and its high standards of trial conduct," he added.

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21-04-2017
1 in 3 digital transformation initiatives pays off

Nine in every 10 (89%) of business leaders say their organizations are undertaking digital transformation initiatives leveraging digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Fujitsu’s Global Digital Transformation Survey which covered 1,614 business leaders across 15 countries, 34% of such initiatives had already delivered positive outcomes. The survey also found that having talented staff with the right skills (19%) and strong leadership (18%), as well as the establishment of organizations that can respond to the speed of change of digital transformations (17%) are important factors for successful digital transformations. It is also necessary that co-creation be performed with technology partners which have the capability of digital technology. To deliver positive outcomes from digital transformation initiatives, it is necessary to acquire people with those capabilities, or to foster the development of such talent. The Top 3 outcomes of digital transformation were increase in revenue (46%), improvement of customer relationships (44%), and strengthening competitiveness of products (36%), confirming the contribution of digital transformations to business growth. Business leaders have high expectations regarding AI, with 77% of them viewing AI as an opportunity. Most of them also agree that AI will enhance the capabilities of people in the future. They also said  the most important capabilities that people need to strengthen in the digital era are professional knowledge of digital technologies (18%) and creativity and imagination (17%) among other necessary capabilities. The results also indicate that, to successfully implement digital transformation initiatives, it is important to foster the development of digital talent, or acquire such talent.

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19-04-2017
Google APAC financial dashboard reveals growing interest in wealth management products

Results from Google’s Asia Pacific financial dashboard have shown an increase in mobile searches for financial products among consumers in Singapore, with a 28% year-on-year growth rate.The dashboard shares how consumers across 10 countries across the Asia pacific searched for financial products over the last year.Key findings for Singapore include the fact that two in three Singaporeans conduct their searched with a  brand in mind when searching for financial products. Searches peaked in May to June 2016 with key interest in the Euro following the Brexit announcement; the Digibank launch by DBS; and the launch of new retail bonds by Oxley and Hyflux.This surge in searches was followed by a slump caused by a large drop in the Dow Jones Index in August.Insurance tops searches  Eight of the top 10 queries were about insurance policies ranging from health, to business, housing and cars; while Singaporeans also showed interest in home equity loans and how to start investing.The top ten search terms for Singapore were:How to avoid pitfalls in getting home equity loansWhat is short term health insuranceHow much does house insurance cost per monthHow much does insurance cost for a businessHow much does renters insurance costHow to sell insuranceHow to make car insurance cheaperHow much is public liability insuranceWhy life insurance is important for future successHow to start investing in SingaporeThis interest in insurance was also evident in the rise in the number of finance-related searches in November following the launch of insurance company Sompo, the launch of FWD’s online life insurance policy, and SingSaver - a financial comparison site in Singapore.Consumer insights by sectorBased on 2016 searches, key trends in various financial sectors were revealed.Banking servicesLocal banks command top-of-mind recall: General banking searches are mostly related to online banking, showing Singaporeans’ preference for more e-services. Search results show a preference for local banks with DBS commanding the most search volume, followed by OCBC, POSB and UOB.Searches for 2016 showed that miles-based benefits are the most sought after feature for credit cards with 42% of same-session searches related to Travel.Business and individual loans: General, Home and Personal Loans lead the category while the interest for Business Loans is growing the fastest.InsuranceMore than 60% of  insurance searches in 2016 focused on travel .InvestmentsAcross the top five financials hubs globally (London, New York, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong), Singapore is responsible for 13% of the investment-related searches driven by mobile activity and key categories - surpassing searches generated from Hong Kong.Searches for 2016 show that mobile searches for wealth management is growing at 41% year-on-year.Top five investment categories in Singapore include Forex and Currencies; Securities; Retirement investments; Commodities and Brokerages.Michael Yue, Industry Head for Banking and Financial Services, Google Singapore shared, “Financial literacy in Singapore is one of the highest in Asia and consumers like to be well-informed before making any decisions. Singaporeans care about financial planning and often turn to Search to help them understand financial products and investments.”

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19-04-2017
Bank Mandiri deploys Cloudera for big data

Indonesia’s Bank Mandiri has adopted Cloudera Enterprise to enhance omni-channel customer engagement with the aid of Big data.Spurred by the success of big data analytics adoption in the telecommunications and Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industries, Mohammad Guntur, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Data Management Group, for Bank Mandiri, believes that the same benefits can be conferred upon the financial services industry. “Big data technology plays a critical role in our aspiration of becoming Indonesia’s best and ASEAN’s most prominent financial institution by 2020,” said Guntur.Bank Mandiri’s wide range of banking services and customer transactions have created an exponential amount of data, leading to challenges across the entire data lifecycle. With Cloudera Enterprise, Bank Mandiri aims to be better armed to overcome common hurdles in data ingestion, integration and accuracy, creating a seamless big data analytics environment to derive meaningful insights and drive business decisions.Cloudera Enterprise aims to help financial services organizations to take advantage of machine learning models to better predict cybercrime, money laundering, and insider threats, while adhering to industry regulations and ensuring customer data is secure yet easily accessible.

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19-04-2017
Shandong rolls out financial social security card from Evolis

The Shandong Social Security department has selected Evolis for the personalization and instant issuance of multifunctional plastic cards. The cards, co-branded by the Shandong Social Security authority and six Chinese banks, combine a debit card with a social security card.The contract, worth $1.2M, includes consumables and spare parts.The project aims to further develop the applications of the classic social security card, which is issued centrally by the social security bureau.The new financial security card can be issued in the six partner banks ICBC, ABC, CCB, BC, PSBC and Rural Credit Cooperative as a multi-application card offering life insurance, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance as well as all functions of common debit cards such as cash withdrawal, transfer, card consumption, investment and wealth management and bill payment.400 Avansia printers by Evolis, integrating retransfer printing technology, were equipped with smart card encoders by Chinese system integrator Boya Wuzhou, and deployed across the banks in December, 2016.The Avansia system, released at the end of 2014, allows users to print in offset quality and touts high durability. Additional encoding modules, magnetic, chip with and without contact, can be combined to be installed on the Avansia to issue any type of highly secure card.The technology is purportedly suitable for a large variety of applications such as secured access cards, student IDs, payment cards, official identification cards, driver's licenses, and more.

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19-04-2017
Inequality widens in technology, reports Huawei Global Connectivity Index 2017

Digitally-developed economies around the globe are continuing to progress due to larger investments and adoptions in ICT.  At the same time, digitally-developing economies have also started to accelerate their growth by investing strategically in ICT capabilities and their digital transformation journeys – yet the gap continues to grow.  Those are some of the findings in the Huawei Global Connectivity Index (GCI) 2017, the fourth annual study that shows how countries are progressing with digital transformation based on 40 unique indicators that cover five technology enablers: broadband, data centers, cloud, big data and Internet of Things. According to GCI 2017, global progress towards a digital economy is picking up pace. The world's GCI score is up four percentage points since 2015. The report shows that ICT has become an engine of economic growth.Of the 50 countries that were analyzed, 16 are considered Frontrunners, 21 are Adopters, while the remaining 13 are Starters. These clusters reflect the nations’ progress in digital transformation. Frontrunners (average GDP per capita of US$50,000) are mostly developed economies, continually boosting digital user experience, using big data and IoT to develop more intelligent, efficient societies. Adopters (average GDP per capita of US$15,000) are focused on increasing ICT demand to facilitate industry digitization and high-quality economic growth. Starters (average GDP capita of US$3,000) are in the early stage of ICT infrastructure build-out, and focus on increasing ICT supply to give more people access to the digital world. 1. Amongst Frontrunners, Singapore is competing head on with Switzerland with only 2 points difference.2. Amongst the Adopters, China and Malaysia improved their GCI scores in part due to roll-outs of national ICT initiatives.3. Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam lead the Starters’ cluster in 2017.4. China and Malaysia are top movers. The GCI data observes high performance dividends in 4G coverage, broadband download speed, and notable progress toward deploying Cloud. From a policy perspective, governments of the top movers are prioritizing initiatives that aim to enhance citizens’ experience with ICT.5. South Korea is a surprisingly slow mover. Despite its impressive broadband, South Korea’s performance in Cloud, Big Data and IoT has not grown as fast as nations at the forefront of the Frontrunner cluster hence the drop in ranking. The report said economic planners should give priority attention to widening inequality, noting “the digital divide becomes a digital chasm”. “By examining three years of GCI data, we see growing inequality, an ICT version of the ‘Matthew Effect’ – the sociology theory that states: ‘the rich get richer and the poor get poorer’. Groups or individuals that have an accumulated advantage over time not only succeed, but leverage their initial advantage to pull farther and farther ahead of competitors. Policy makers need to understand that this widening digital divide will impact every sector of the economy and society. Nations that cannot build sustainable economic growth may also have difficulty in feeding, educating and providing job opportunities for their people,” the report said.Frontrunners achieved an increase of 4.7 GCI points from 2015 to 2017 by leveraging the capabilities of Cloud, Big Data and IoT. Adopters experienced a lift of 4.5 points on average. The slower Starters fell farther behind in their ability to compete in the Digital Economy, with only a 2.4 point improvement in overall GCI scores.Key areas where inequality between the clusters is an issue include mobile broadband subscriptions, IT workforce per capita, ICT investment per GDP, apps download per capita and IoT installed base per capita. It should be noted that a 1 point increase in GCI score is equivalent to 1) a 2.1% increase in competitiveness 2) 2.2% increase in national innovation, and 3) a 2.3% increase in productivity.  GCI 2017 study reported the relationship between ICT investment and GDP growth is generally accepted in government and industry. Examining the GCI 2017 data with numerous economic forecasting models, the report said a nation which increased investment in ICT investment in infrastructure by additional 10% annually from 2017 to 2025 can benefit from a multiplier effect. “Using this economic impact model we find that every additional US$1 of ICT infrastructure investment could bring a return of US$3 in GDP at present, US$3.70 in 2020 and the potential return increases to US$5 in 2025,” the report said.“The widening gap has had a significant impact on countries as they develop and work their way toward digital transformation,” said Kevin Zhang, President of Huawei Corporate Marketing. “To stay competitive, nations at an early stage of digital transformation will need to prioritize ICT infrastructure development, especially broadband connectivity and cloud adoption to a strategic level in economic planning to activate local resources and reach sustainable growth. At the same time, nations aiming to capitalize on their Frontrunner status will want to prioritize cloud as a potent catalyst to initiate a chain reaction of transformation through big data and IoT.” 

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19-04-2017
Victoria Police goes mobile to boost safety and productivity

Victoria Police will adopt a new managed service mobility solution for at least 10,000 police officers in Victoria, Australia. The AUD $50 million solution from Motorola will help increase situational awareness, safety and productivity for frontline officers.The service will place real-time information at the fingertips of at least 10,000 police officers equipped with iPads and iPhones, helping them manage their daily work more safely, efficiently and productively. The solution will also help reduce the duplication of data entry by officers while increasing workforce collaboration by sharing vital information between frontline personnel and their colleagues working in control rooms.The technology will also help Victoria Police to preserve its mission-critical radio communications for essential emergency communications by removing lower priority traffic from the radio network.This investment represents a major goal within Victoria Police’s Capability Plan 2016-2025, which highlights the way the force will transform its service delivery to be more “agile, responsive, people-focussed and connected” Motorola Solutions will lead a consortium of service providers to deliver the contract, including Optus and CompNow. The managed service contract is valued at more than AUD $50 million and will run for a minimum of five years. 

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18-04-2017
How can happy workers improve the bottom line for S’pore’s businesses?

In a hyper competitive market such as Singapore, it can be common for companies to focus all their attention on sales and business development to gain a competitive edge. However, many of them could be overlooking a key factor to improving the bottom line – happy employees.As many organisations discover the effect a motivated and happy workforce has on productivity, a new report It’s time we all work happy: The secrets of the happiest companies and employees, commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half, reveals the drivers behind employee happiness and how businesses can nurture a positive work culture.Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, Managing Director of Robert Half Singapore said: “So why do Singaporean companies need happy employees? While ‘happy’ is not one of the most commonly used words in the Singaporean workplace, it should be an integral part of businesses’ vocabulary as happy employees are not only more engaged and motivated, they are also more productive and innovative which directly impacts the company’s bottom line.”“Happy employees also generally stay longer with the business, which prevents companies from the extra costs of recruiting and onboarding new staff. Investing in employee happiness is therefore a good business decision.”The report reveals six key factors that contribute to workplace happiness – including:1.    Right fit for the job and company: When companies hire people who fit well with their workplace culture, they acclimatise with greater ease and begin making substantive contributions quickly.2.    A sense of empowerment: Empowering staff to make decisions on their own, or with minimal direction from superiors, improves employee happiness.3.    Feeling appreciated: Establishing a positive working environment where employees feel appreciated for the work they do will make employees happier.4.    Interesting and meaningful work: Gaining a sense of meaningful progress and achievement and being proud of the organisation are crucial elements for employee happiness.5.    A sense of fairness: Being treated with fairness and respect – whether it’s about remuneration, decision-making or workplace behaviour - is one of the key drivers of workplace happiness.6.    Positive workplace relationships: Maintaining healthy, supportive workplace relationships is an important source of happiness for employees."Singapore is globally recognised as a highly competitive market, with companies using all means to gain an edge over their competitors. With Singaporean employees being confronted with a high cost of living and long working hours, it is all the more important for companies to invest in their workforce’s happiness given the tangible impact on a company’s bottom line. The ones who do will reap the advantages and be amongst the most successful businesses in Singapore," said Imbert-Bouchard“While Singaporean employers might think that salary contributes the most towards their staff’s happiness levels, our report reveals there are multiple factors contributing to workplace happiness that go beyond financial rewards."Imbert-Bouchard adds that Singaporean businesses should take a proactive approach towards ensuring workplace happiness by not only promoting staff empowerment and a positive company culture, but also by creating a culture of staff appreciation and fairness and respect for the entire workforce."Also finding candidates who are the right fit for the role and the company is a key ingredient for employee happiness. These are all non-monetary ingredients of workplace happiness, which - when combined - can have a tangible impact on a company’s productivity and profitability."

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18-04-2017
S’pore labour group’s new initiative to benefit SME employees

The National Trades Union Congress, Singapore’s labour movement, has launched the NTUC Club Corporate Membership Scheme, an initiative that will give SME employees access to a range of welfare benefits.Except for workplace protection, SME employees will now be granted the same set of welfare benefits afforded to union members.The initiative is open only to SMEs with memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the National Trades Union Congress’ U SME initiative. There are over 180,000 SMEs in Singapore.Under the scheme, SMEs need to pay S$10 monthly for each worker, who will have access to benefits from both NTUC Club and U SME. The NTUC Club benefits include access to club facilities and venues, discounts at select merchants, and group insurance coverage of up to S$30,000.NTUC Assistant Director-General (ADG) Yeo Guat Kwang said that by extending such benefits, SME bosses will be able to better retain their workers.Meanwhile, at NTUC U SME — a labour movement scheme that seeks to combat obstacles facing SMEs- companies and employees can partake in training and development initiatives, and networking events, among other benefits.According to Yeo Guat Kwang, NTUC’s assistant director-general, a total of around 13,000 SMEs have inked MOUs with NTUC U SME, and they comprise of an estimated 300,000-strong workforce.Benefits at a glanceBenefits provided by NTUC Club:Group Insurance coverage of up to $30,000 Discounts and promotions at over 1,000 participating merchant outlets Discounts and assistance on courses and training programmes\ Recreation options such as club facilitiesBenefits provided by NTUC U SME:For both employers and employeesParticipate in engagement and networking events Participate in training and development programmesFor employersGreater awareness on productivity-related grants

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18-04-2017
Singapore is top APAC country in Global Talent Competitiveness Index

Singapore retains its top spot in Asia Pacific for the fourth consecutive year in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017, announced during GTCI’s regional launch at INSEAD Asia campus in Singapore.Produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI), the GTCI is an annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.Focusing on “Talent and Technology”, the 2017 report explores the effects of technological change on talent competitiveness and the future of work, arguing that while jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities.Singapore is ranked second globally for the fourth consecutive year. Australia (6th), New Zealand (14th), Japan (22nd), Malaysia (28th) and South Korea (29th), ranks within Top 30 globally.High ranking countries share key traits, including educational systems that meet the needs of the economy; employment policies that favor flexibility, mobility and entrepreneurship; and high connectedness of stakeholders in business, education and government as well as high level of technological competence.Commenting on the report, Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD, said: “This year’s GTCI report shows that countries in the Asia Pacific region demonstrate strong talent readiness for technology. It also highlights the important role of education. Educational systems have to revamp to help learners foster learning agility and adjust on the fly of changing conditions.”Singapore has shown outstanding performance in the Enable, Attract and Global Knowledge pillars. Countries can learn from Singapore’s well-developed regulatory and market landscapes for global talent to thrive and its ability to anticipate the movements of the economy.Asia’s giants China (54th) and India (92nd) are still away from the top.“Overall, a big challenge for China and India lies in their ability to attract talent, and they both face the issue of local higher-skilled workers leaving to live and work abroad,” says Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD and co-editor of the report.“To improve their attractiveness, the countries can further boost their regulatory and market landscapes.“However, delving deeper and looking at the city-level, the two countries have metropolises exemplary in terms of their talent attractiveness.“Shanghai and Mumbai (apart from Singapore) are the only Asian cities identified and ranked in the inaugural edition of the Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI), but future editions will undoubtedly include more, confirming the growing attractiveness of Asian cities.”Australia performs exceptionally Australia (6th) performed exceptionally being ranked in the Top 10 this year, as it is one of the top countries in the Attract and Global Knowledge Skills pillars.However, Vocational and Technical Skills show room for improvement. This may indicate that the country’s structural shift towards knowledge jobs and services is perhaps leaving gaps in the technical/vocational area.“Although Singapore, Australia and New Zealand all feature in the Top 20 of this edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, these latest findings highlight the increasing challenges that many countries in the Asia Pacific region have in attracting and retaining talent,” says Christophe Duchatellier, Regional Head of Asia Pacific, The Adecco Group.“In 2017 we are already observing organizations across the region placing an increased emphasis on world-class talent attraction strategies and tactics that will support them in remaining competitive. We would expect to see more organizations offering internship and apprenticeship programmes to foster skills development.”Malaysia leads group of upper-middle-income countriesMalaysia (28th) is the top-ranked country in the group of upper-middle-income countries. The country ranks above many high-income countries such as South Korea (29th), Portugal (31st), Spain (35th), and Italy (40th).“Malaysia performs particularly well in the pillars of the Enabling context and Vocational and Technical Skills,” says Paul Evans, The Shell Chair Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Emeritus, at INSEAD, and Academic Director and co-editor of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.“It also does well on External Openness as it has been able to attract talent from overseas. In addition, in terms of talent readiness for technology, Malaysia ranks higher than South Korea even though the IT infrastructure of the latter is much superior. The country can boost its rankings if it further improves in Internal Openness in terms of tolerance of minorities.”Japan (22nd) has a solid overall performance, although it dipped slightly from last year. One of its main challenges is the Attract pillar where it is far behind the top three countries of this region. Middle-income countries such as Malaysia attract more foreign talent.Although South Korea (29th) makes it into the top 30 this year, it is the lowest-ranking high-income country in the region. Despite being the top country in dimensions such as Tertiary enrollment and the Market Landscape—with world-class R&D in­vestments—the country has major room for improvement in the Attract pillar.The Philippines (52nd) is the top lower-middle-income country, ranking above several upper-middle-income countries such as China (54th) and the Russian Federation (56th), and even above some high-income countries such as Kuwait (57th) and Oman (59th). Its greatest strength is its good pool of both Vocational and Technical Skills and Global Knowl­edge Skills.Globally, European countries continue to dominate the GTCI rankings, with 7 of them in the top 10. Switzerland maintains its top position, followed by Singapore and United Kingdom.      

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17-04-2017
StashAway targets US$710 billion wealth management market in Singapore

Across Asia Pacific excluding China, the mass-affluent customers have US$12 Trillion in financial wealth. That's 47% of total financial wealth in the region according to Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook. In Singapore, the total financial wealth is estimated at US$710 billion (source: SingStats).Asian customers tend to have portfolios allocation with very high proportion in cash. Fifty-one percent of gross financial assets owned by Asian customers are in bank deposits compared to 14% in North America. In Singapore, the figure is 36% (source: Allianz Global Financial Assets). The global Distribution & Marketing Consumer research by Accenture revealed that 84% of Singaporeans "would use entirely computer-generated support for investment advice.Robo-advisors, or “robos,” are growing in prevalence in Europe and North America. Currently, robos in Singapore only serve accredited investors, and have yet to empower all investors. StashAway will be the first to offer highly sophisticated, goal-oriented investment services to everyone, regardless of net worth.With no minimum balance, the ability to withdraw at any time, and low management fees that range from just 0.2% to only 0.8%, investors on StashAway’s intuitive platform can finally invest on their terms and reach their financial goals sooner.Michele Ferrario (photo right), Co-Founder and CEO claims that StashAway completely shifts the investment paradigm by providing everyone highly sophisticated, unbiased investment advice for an incredibly low fee and no lock-in.StashAway creates personalized portfolios based on a customer’s salary, monthly savings capacity, risk preferences, and time horizon to reach a financial goal. Whether it’s a long-term goal, such as retirement, or a short-term goal, such as a wedding, the system will design an intelligent portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and a monthly investment strategy so that customers can achieve their personal financial objectives on their own terms.The technology also automatically manages the portfolio by rebalancing and re-optimizing as market and economic conditions demand.Behind the technology is an advanced economic regime-based investment strategy, designed by Chief Investment Officer and Co-founder, Freddy Lim (photo left), who argued that next generation robo advisory services cannot survive solely on being cost effective.  He says it’s important for the technology to differentiate itself by being intelligent. Lim has put risk management at the very heart of the investment framework that is intrinsically designed to navigate the ups and downs of economic cycles, instead of sporadic market activity.“After in-depth stress-tests, such a strategy would have outperformed in risk-adjusted terms during the global financial crisis of 2008,” said Lim.By providing personalized portfolios built with highly-advanced investment strategies and delivered completely digitally, StashAway has set out to redefine the investment experience, from start to finish. The development team is in its final stages of preparing both the user-interface and trading platform, and expects to be able to launch in the coming months.The company received in-principle approval for its Capital Market Services License for Retail Fund Management. StashAway claimed it is months away from launching its digital wealth management platform.The company does not hide its multi-country ambitions in the region although it noted that in the short-term, it is focused on launching in Singapore.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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17-04-2017
Data quality supercedes data acquisition priorities

Risk, compliance and data specialists attending the Enterprise Solutions Summit in Asia in 2017 expect web and cloud-based data or quant tools to be the most significant drivers of change in the enterprise data management world in the year ahead. Results from the polls also highlighted the increasing attention financial institutions will devote to data governance.Banks and asset managers are consuming vast amounts of data for analysis, execution, trade reporting and collateral management, whilst regulators want deeper visibility into how trade and investment decisions are made within firms to enhance market integrity and transparency.  Compounded by the reality that financial information is generated by disparate sources at an escalating rate, data management solutions are becoming more imperative.Although 34% of market participants surveyed identified the consolidation of market data feeds as the other key development for the coming year, the two biggest challenges they face are budget and cost of systems (38%) and legacy products that do not meet their requirements (20%). About 32% of respondents will devote resources to either organizing data to create master content, or integrating and connecting data content with regulatory demands (31%). The final third (36%) say they will allocate budget to data distribution tools for the enterprise and acquiring high-quality data sets.Data consumption is expanding at an accelerating rate as financial institutions increasingly take on more data to conduct analytics, preserve alpha, drive quant trading strategies, due diligence, demonstrate best execution, compliance reporting amongst others.“As such, data and risk officers are having to find ways to manage all the data, evolving it from a manual process of painstakingly recording, tabulating, investigating, matching and reporting to introducing an automated process that are fulfilled by new technologies such as web-based, cloud-based or quant tools,” said Gurkan Tasoren (photo right), Bloomberg Head of Enterprise Solutions in APAC.He added that with big data, firms face the challenge of data delivery, processing and storage. To address this, technology providers have gravitated toward cloud-based solutions away from deployed ones.“This is true across enterprise as well as the social facets of everyday usage. As such, many companies are moving their data to the cloud because it reduces cost, provides agility and reduces the pain and resources spent to continually upgrade software and maintain hardware,” he explained.He also noted that the corresponding demand for more flexible front-end data management utility tools has pushed clients' demand for web-based solutions. This is not to replace deployed solutions but rather acts as a complement. This introduces flexibility in data management use, from a point-and-click supermarket utility to deployment efficiencies via the web.Financial data management has evolved in the last few years. Traditionally, it was focused on standard data needs for day-to-day risk management and mark-to-market.“The tremendous growth of financial data has meant that firms need to find ways to acquire, distribute and utilize it. The rise of quant-driven strategies is the next-generation trade that follows from high frequency trading. This drives the demand for quality event-driven news feeds and quant data products as the industry looks to monetize the availability of data, which in turn bolster the need for quant tools solutions in managing the data,” he concluded.As organizations grow bigger clients become concerned with data duplication and consistency, especially around data acquisition which is typically not as coordinated across the department or firm-wide.This could lead to inconsistent usage where the various departments could be utilizing disparate sets of data which leads to misalignment.“We see a trend towards maintaining a common set of master data content that is cleansed prior to distribution and usage, where the firm's user could access with confidence. For example, we see a trend of clients looking to create master sets of historical data across data points of volatility,” he elaborated.He believed this leads to the second most urgent task – to ensure a robust data management and distribution system across the enterprise to fulfill the above requirement.“The interest in Enterprise Data Management systems points to an industry's realization that it is no longer sufficient to acquire data. The need to ensure data quality from multiple sources via a cleansing process is important, and leads on to the need to distribute this data for use across the firm enterprise seamlessly,” he explained.Additionally, there is a need for companies to have the ability to search their data for compliance and reporting purposes.“For example, if a regulator was to query about a trade done 7 years ago, the company will need to be able to search its database in an efficient manner that allows them to provide quick and thorough answers. Organizing data to create master content will ensure the ability to do that,” concluded Tasoren.Feature photo courtesy of iStockPhoto Caption: photo courtesy of iStockphoto

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CyberLink Vol.103 March 2017

Cyberport collaborates with the Government in staging the 2nd edition Internet Economy Summit 2017

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CyberLink Vol.102 February 2017

Cyberport’s popular Career Fair returns on 4 March

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CyberLink Vol.101 Chinese New Year Special Edition

Message from the CEO

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