AICB building banking workforce resilience


Banks must adopt strategic talent development approaches to equip practitioners with the skills, expertise, and mindset needed to contribute to organisational transformation and deliver long-term value to stakeholders.Ling highlights the institute's dedication to ensuring the relevance, agility, and readiness of Malaysia's banking industry practitioners for the future of banking.Banks must adopt strategic talent development approaches to equip practitioners with the skills, expertise, and mindset needed to contribute to organisational transformation and deliver long-term value to stakeholders.Ling highlights the institute's dedication to ensuring the relevance, agility, and readiness of Malaysia's banking industry practitioners for the future of banking.

THE financial sector faces dynamic changes driven by technological advancements, regulatory shifts, and evolving customer expectations.

In this landscape, navigating the complexities of modern banking and managing talent effectively are crucial for competitiveness and sustainable growth, especially in the digital age.

Banks must adopt strategic talent development approaches to equip practitioners with the skills, expertise, and mindset needed to contribute to organisational transformation and deliver long-term value to stakeholders.

Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers (AICB) chief executive Edward Ling highlights the institute's dedication to ensuring the relevance, agility, and readiness of Malaysia's banking industry practitioners for the future of banking.

With AICB's membership exceeding 35,000 banking and financial practitioners since its establishment in 1977, Ling further emphasises the institute's commitment to equipping their practitioners with the capacity, professionalism, and skills necessary to thrive in the evolving landscape of banking.

Managing talent scarcity

Asked whether local banks in Malaysia are facing emerging talent scarcity, Ling asserts that while challenges may exist, proactive measures and strategic investments have been implemented to address potential talent shortages effectively through their innovative talent development strategy and upskilling programmes.

“AICB is committed to nurturing the next generation of banking professionals through its professional banking programmes as well as strategic collaborations with global banking education institutions, international organisations and universities,” he highlights.

Ling emphasises the importance of aligning educational efforts with industry needs to nurture a sustainable pool of adept and future-ready banking professionals.

Additionally, he shares AICB's role in shaping the trajectory of the banking industry by investing in the development of skilled and knowledgeable professionals.

Furthermore, Ling reinforces the institute's dedication to providing valuable opportunities through professional banking education programmes, particularly its flagship programme, the Chartered Banker, as well as through collaborations with global professional education institutions.

In 2023, AICB also expanded its outreach to support higher education institutions through several initiatives designed to empower banking and finance undergraduates with essential knowledge and skills for building successful banking careers.

Ling notes partnerships with esteemed universities, offering eligible graduates advanced entry into Level 2 of the Chartered Banker qualification for a seamless transition into the professional banking domain.

“AICB also actively encourages the adoption of professional banking qualifications through participation in numerous career talks with university students, providing a platform to showcase the benefits of AICB’s programmes and guide students toward becoming qualified banking professionals.”

Skills mastery

Ling emphasises the critical importance of understanding the necessary skills to drive the banks of today and tomorrow forward.

He highlights the imperative for the industry to remain agile and responsive to evolving needs, underlining the pivotal role of capacity building in ensuring continued success and relevance.

He explains that collaborative efforts, such as the Future Skills Framework (FSF) for the Malaysian financial sector, developed in partnership with the Islamic Banking and Finance Institute Malaysia (IBFIM) and Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII), are instrumental in addressing these requirements.

He points out that a crucial aspect of the FSF’s development involves rigorous validation through engagement sessions with industry stakeholders.

Ling elaborates that a series of workshops held from June 2023 to March 2024 resulted in key findings encompassing six key trends, 10 job clusters, 129 job roles and 135 skills.

“These outcomes form the basis for the FSF’s four key areas: key findings, skills maps, career development pathways, and capacity-building interventions.”

He notes that the FSF benefits a wide spectrum of stakeholders, including employers, employees, students, job seekers, training providers and the government.

Ling adds that ultimately, the FSF signifies a concerted initiative to foster a more future-ready workforce, raise the bar on professional excellence, and advance the growth of the financial industry in Malaysia.

“I believe that the scarcest skills of which we are in urgent need are digital and sustainability skills, which are most current, and which the banking sector faces a set of unique opportunities and challenges when it comes to adoption.”

Ling outlines how AI can automate routine tasks, increase efficiency, reduce costs, and provide faster and more accurate customer support.

He pinpoints the potential of AI models in providing customised financial services, targeted product recommendations, proactive fraud detection, and short support wait times.

On the sustainability front, he shares that “the push for decarbonisation has been widely advocated and while we see our banks already adopting many measures with their clientele, much more can be done for us to become a leader in the region.”

“In line to further strengthen the capacity in sustainability, the introduction of the Certificate in Climate Risk (CICR) in 2023 aimed to further equip bankers towards making sustainable practices mainstream, accelerating the transition to net zero, and meeting Malaysia’s sustainability commitments in 2050.”

Ling also mentions upcoming courses and certifications in responsible banking, green and sustainable finance, as well as digital and AI evolution, scheduled to be launched in the coming months.

Empowering green financing

At the recent Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), Green Financing emerged as a major topic.

Ling emphasises AICB's potential to further accelerate this agenda for Malaysia, citing the importance of capacity building in nurturing bankers with the right mindset for ethical decision-making.

He highlights the significance of investing in sustainability to achieve equitable prosperity for current and future generations, stating, “Hence, to equip bankers through this transition, quality education and training are key drivers for building a sustainable economy and a high-income nation.”

Additionally, Ling shares AICB's collaborations with global organisations like the United Nations Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), delivering thought leadership sessions and technical programmes on sustainability, especially on climate and biodiversity.

“AICB also delivers various learning and thought leadership initiatives, including e-learning, webinars, conferences, roundtables, and publications aimed at enhancing capacity and knowledge, and increasing our members’ respective organisational value amidst the constant technological disruption and challenges that we are witnessing today.”

Furthermore, he mentions AICB's commitment to advancing the climate resilience and sustainable finance agenda through membership in initiatives like the Joint Committee for Climate Change Sub-committee 4 (JC3 SC4) and the Capacity-building Alliance of Sustainable Investment (CASI) respectively.

Ling also points out AICB's role in promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives through events like the Malaysian Banking Conference (MBC) and proactive environmental sustainability efforts such as AICB’s Clean and Green Programme.

Safeguarding financial security

With widespread money laundering and terrorism financing occurring frequently around the region, Ling explains that AICB plays a crucial role in educating, training, and helping banks and bankers mitigate these risks.

“Malaysian financial institutions are working hard to mitigate current risks and emerging threats arising from the usage of new technology, not only in the country but also within the region, by having highly skilled compliance officers.”

He highlights the institute's efforts to address emerging risks such as the use of cryptocurrencies for financial-related crimes, and existing issues through professional qualifications in anti-money laundering (AML), counter-financing of terrorism (CFT), and regulatory compliance.

Ling emphasises AICB's commitment to further professionalising the banking industry and achieving zero-tolerance towards money laundering and terrorism financing.

Additionally, he mentions the annual International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing (IFCTF) as a key platform for connecting professionals and enhancing knowledge and defences against financial crime.

Ling notes the event's significance in facilitating dynamic exchanges of insights and potential solutions among 1,000 delegates from local and international financial institutions.

Building consumer trust through upskilling

Ling emphasises the importance of upskilling for bankers to build greater consumer trust.

He highlights how upskilling enhances the understanding of sector changes, leading to strengthened consumer trust and increased business.

“When a consumer trusts your judgement and advice, they will invest and do business with you.”

Furthermore, Ling underscores AICB's commitment to raising professional and ethical standards in banking through professional membership and qualifications.

AICB's role as a founding member of the Global Banking Education Standards Board (GBEStB) reflects its dedication to shaping global banking education standards and fostering international dialogue.

Ling concluded that “with expert guidance and industry-leading proficiency, the banking workforce in Malaysia can reaffirm its commitment to grow and maintain a stable financial system and a flourishing economy, while also building greater customer trust towards financial institutions.”

AICB, the sole professional body for Malaysia’s banking industry, is governed by a council of representatives from Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM), and the Malaysian Investment Banking Association (MIBA).

To learn more about AICB and stay updated on its initiatives, programmes and activities, visit https://www.aicb.org.my/

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