Blockchain, crowdfunding, cashless payment and robo advisory are no longer esoteric concepts. Fintech innovations have also been increasingly incorporated into our daily lives. In addition, Fintech is changing the start-up landscape. How can the youths equip themselves with necessary skillsets for jobs of the future? Why does Fintech matter to all entrepreneurs?

To answer these questions, the Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics at SMU and Citi Singapore, through the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults (‘Programme’), organised its 5th symposium on 20 September 2018.

Themed “Fintech: Empowering Youth and The Future of Work”, some 300 participants, of which about 240 students are from ITE, Polytechnics and SMU, and the rest from government agencies and partner organisations, attended the symposium.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Manpower, graced the event as the guest-of-honour, and delivered a speech.

In his speech, Mr Zaqy Mohamad shared how the CPF system works. He said, “The CPF system is here to support you. It has helped the vast majority of Singaporeans to own the homes we live in and will do likewise for you. It helps us to take care of most of our big medical expenses. Our individual hard work, coupled with our employers’ contributions and the interest paid by the CPF Board on our savings, helps us build up a sizeable nest egg and a retirement income for life.”

Mr Zaqy also highlighted some of the risks that arise from individual decisions. First, the rise of the gig economy in which some of the work arrangements make a person more like a contractor than an employee and so do not come with CPF contributions. This means the individual has nothing to fall back on when he wants to buy a house, falls very sick, or has to retire without family support. Second, taking risks with property purchases, by either stretching one’s budget to the limit or speculating in the hope of a big upside gain. Thirdly, when CPF members put their hard-earned CPF savings in investments they neither have the knowledge nor time to manage, the results are not always happy. He urged the audience to learn more about the CPF system and how it can work better for them, so that they can have the peace of mind to pursue their life goals.

Addressing the youths in the audience, SMU Provost Professor Lily Kong said, “Budding professionals like yourself have to start thinking about how to plan and prepare for the vagaries of future opportunities, and be prepared like an entrepreneur to take risks and manage your finances in order to be part of the financial ecosystem. We cannot address the issue of financial inclusion unless we improve financial literacy, particularly among youths. Financial literacy is thus foundational to financial empowerment and financial freedom.”

Mr Adam Rahman, Head of Corporate Affairs, Citi Singapore and ASEAN, said “The rapid digital transformation of the financial services sector makes collaboration between industry and educational institutions even more important today. I am optimistic that efforts such as the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Program for Young Adults will give rise to a new generation of entrepreneurs and executives well prepared to thrive in the future.”

At the symposium, Citi Foundation presented a cheque of S$492,000 to SMU for the continuation of the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults in 2019. Since the Programme’s inception in 2012, Citi has cumulatively contributed about S$3 million to the Programme.

Another highlight of the symposium is the FinLitChallenge 2018 Award Presentation. This is a competition for students from ITE, Polytechnics and SMU which challenges them to spread financial literacy knowledge to their peers through creative and engaging ways. The theme of this year’s challenge is the potential and risks of cryptocurrency.

For the SMU Category, Team Decrypto – comprising Tan Jia Hao, Ng Zheng Nan and Tan Jia Wen from SUTD-SMU Dual Degree Programme in Technology and Management – was chosen as the winner in recognition of their creativity in repackaging the complex topic of cryptocurrency into an easy-to-understand infographic.

For ITE/Polytechnic Category, Team Sole Survivors from ITE College West – comprising Stephanie Joshua, Aw Wei Lun and Larah Villaviray – was chosen as the winner in recognition of their hard work, teamwork and creativity in completing a three-segment financial literacy challenge, i.e. Instagram challenge, an Amazing Race and a Facebook Video Competition.

The symposium also had two panel discussions. The first panel, moderated by Mr Perry Kwan, President of Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Club, comprised of Ms Anna Haotanto, CEO of The New Savvy; Assistant Professor Aurobindo Ghosh, Principal Investigator, Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults, SMU; Mr Kenneth Lou, Co-Founder & CEO of Seedly. The panel discussed issues such as how Fintech can play a positive role in progressing Singapore’s growing start-up ecosystem, and how professionals and entrepreneurs can equip themselves with necessary skillsets to derive maximum benefit from FinTech.

The second panel was moderated by Mr Freddy Lim, Co-founder & Chief Investment Officer of Stashaway. The panel members were Ms Abigail Ng, Executive Director, Corporate Finance & Consumer Department / MoneySENSE, Monetary Authority of Singapore; Mr Edmas Neo, Executive Director, Action Community for Entrepreneurship; and Mr Fonzarelli Ong, Head, Digital Banking, Citibank Singapore Limited. They discussed some of the risks of Fintech, how consumers and businesses can manage those risks, and why Fintech plays a very important role in Singapore’s ambition of becoming a Smart Nation.

Since its launch in 2012, the Programme has trained more than 400 student trainers from SMU, Polytechnics and ITE, who have in turn reached out to more than 20,000 young adults from ITE, Polytechnics, Association of Muslim Professionals, Chinese Development Assistance Council and many others, to teach them about money management and responsible financial behavior.

This year, the Programme has achieved three milestones. They are:

My Money @ Campus - MoneySENSE/Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Association of Banks in Singapore have commissioned SMU and Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults to conceptualise and run the inaugural My Money @ Campus series in the polytechnics from May to July 2018. Student trainers from SMU and the five Polytechnics have worked closely with more than 250 student volunteers from SMU and the polytechnics reaching out to more than 7,000 students.

Financial Literacy Programme for SMU Undergraduates - SMU is the first university in Singapore to offer a financial literacy programme to its freshmen through interactive sport activity. The Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Programme for Young Adults has organized financial literacy human foosball as part of SMU Freshmen Orientation which is organized for all SMU freshmen.

Smoolah - a Virtual Reality based Financial Literacy Mobile Game. The Programme is developing a virtual reality based mobile game to share financial concepts such as saving, budgeting, investing, insurance and Fintech in a fun and interactive way.



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