In 2015, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam spoke of the need to develop more leaders for Singapore's financial sector, pointing out that deeper skills and expertise would be required as the financial sector – which already accounted for 12 percent of the country's GDP – continued to grow. With Asia gaining in significance, as a region, it is becoming increasingly important to provide the next generation of financial leaders with not just cutting edge research, state-of-the-art interactive classroom learning, case studies and panel discussions delivering forward-looking perspectives, but also with experiential learning, candid experience sharing and role modelling from distinguished captains of industry who have ‘been there, done that', as well as closed door dialogues with regional and global policymakers to gain insights to the current and future financial regulations globally.
In view of this, the Asian Financial Leaders Programme (AFLP), developed by Temasek Management Services Academy (TMSA now known as HCLI) and Singapore Management University (SMU), which were jointly awarded the mandate by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), was launched by DPM Tharman in 2015. Spanning 21 days over ten months and comprising six modules, this flagship programme for developing senior-level talent in Asia's financial sector takes participants to world-renowned institutions across Europe, the United States, China and Southeast Asia including IMD, Stanford University and Tsinghua School of Economics and Management. The third cohort of AFLP participants have recently completed the first three modules of the programme which started in Singapore in November 2017 and continued in Silicon Valley, California followed by Lausanne, Switzerland respectively in 2018.
Topics covered during these modules ranged from global trends, leadership, ethics and culture to strategic thinking and execution, innovation, disruption, the Silicon Valley ecosystem, regulatory environments in the US and Switzerland, artificial intelligence, digital currencies, payment innovations and blockchain development, growth creation, mergers and acquisitions, customer centricity, wealth management, governance and new thinking in risk management. Participants visited Netflix and Tesla in California, and Hublot in Lausanne. The next two modules in Indonesia and China will be held in May 2018 while the final one will be back in Singapore in September 2018.
The Asian Financial Leaders Programme (AFLP) is the flagship programme for developing top talent in the financial sector to assume regional and global leadership positions and handle the growing complexity of issues faced by Asia's financial institutions. Leveraging the strong design and execution expertise of TMS, the Singapore Management University and an extensive network of top-tier global partners, the AFLP takes participants through an impactful learning journey to both developed and emerging markets. The programme consists of a highly customised content for Asia's financial sector, providing critical insights for senior-level executives to lead and grow their financial institutions. It incorporates global and regional perspectives aimed at strengthening participants' abilities to understand the complexities of both regional and global economic landscapes. The six modules include plenary sessions, case studies and business simulations facilitated by top-notch faculty from world-renowned institutions, interactive panel discussions with subject matter experts and industry practitioners, insightful and robust dialogues with global thought leaders, regulators and distinguished corporate leaders, as well as visits to world-class companies that span across three continents and five countries. Since the merger of TMSA and the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) in July 2017, AFLP is currently offered by HCLI and SMU.
"Very high quality programme curated by the programme directors, combining a blend of traditional case studies yet driving home the urgency of change management and leadership. Very structured content, well-paced while leaving plenty of space for insights and reflection. Breakout sessions were thoughtfully designed, and used beautifully to reinforce the teaching points."
- Rosemary Lim, Executive Director, Macroprudential Surveillance Department, Monetary Authority of Singapore
"The Asian Financial Leaders Programme (AFLP) is one of the best leadership programmes I have attended. Very pragmatic and thought-provoking concepts and practices shared by leaders both from the Industry and the Academia."
- Gireesh Bhargava, Joint General Manager, Head - Offshore Corporate Banking, South Asia, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
"The content of and the speakers at AFLP ... impressive and inspirational. Exceeded my expectations indeed !!"
- Koh Kar Siong, Managing Director, Head of Consumer Banking Group, China, DBS Bank
"I've been honoured to be selected as an AFLP participant in 2017-18. Jointly run by TMS and SMU under the stewardship of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the programme has not only exposed us to world class academicians and practitioners globally, but it has also been a real catalyst to forge friendships and learnings through peers who are at the top of their field in the finance industry in Singapore. These bonds are invaluable."
- Ranjit Khanna, Head of South Asia, Union Bancaire Privée SA Singapore
A 2016 LinkedIn study on leadership challenges revealed that organisations in South-east Asia, including Singapore, are struggling to find the managerial talent they need to run and grow their business. More significantly, 79 per cent of HR decision makers in the region report difficulty in hiring local leaders, while 42 per cent of them have less than half their leadership positions filled with local talent.