Trends in PNG’s Finance Sector for 2020

Trends in PNG’s Finance Sector for 2020

Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen an increase in demand for finance professionals across Papua New Guinea as the finance landscape across the broader Pacific region begins to shift and change.

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Image source: World Bank

Following APEC last year and initiatives like the Coral Sea CablePapua LNG and the PNG Electrification Partnership, Papua New Guinea has well and truly stepped onto the global stage.

While there is still an air of uncertainty around the PNG Government’s new approach to the resources sector and how this will affect investor and business confidence, there’s no denying that the stage is now set for the country’s finance sector to grow.

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Image source: Aaron Chin

For example, just this month the Papua New Guinea Stock Exchange (renamed PNGX) put forward proposals to set up trade in government and private debt securities as part of the country’s broader Finance Sector Development Strategy (FSDS).

For any professionals who are looking for a dynamic market where there is room to launch ideas, champion new projects and take on leadership roles with impact ? PNG’s finance sector is one to keep on your radar. Here are just a couple of reasons why:

 Banking, insurance and financial services sectors are on the move

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Activity in this sector is really starting to heat up.

Between Kina’s acquisition of ANZ, BSP’s expansion into new markets in South East Asia and increasing competition in the insurance sector, there is more demand now for specialised talent in this sector than ever before.

As many companies in this industry are in ?expansion mode?, there are more and more opportunities becoming available for finance professionals with dual skillsets in technology, project management or business development.

Trends in mobile technology (fuelled by PNG’s increasing mobile ownership rate) and advances in telecommunications infrastructure (including the Coral Sea cable) are also fuelling demand for professionals with exposure to the financial technology space.


Over AUD $20 billion worth of mining, oil and gas projects in the pipeline

With projects like Wafi-Golpu, Papua LNG and the PNG LNG third train expansion all looking to kick off within a similar timeframe, we?re expecting to see a demand for finance professionals in this space.

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Image source: Oil Search

Outside of project finance roles and positions with the owners, operators and contractors, the sudden increase in economic activity generated by the projects will create flow-on effects throughout the country.

For example, we?re expecting to see demand in supporting industries including transport, logistics, aviation, construction, and professional services as projects ramp up.

Asia Pacific markets are among the world’s most dynamic ? and PNG is in the perfect location

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As a part of the broader Asia Pacific region, PNG is perfectly placed to take lessons learned from its neighbours to apply domestically.

For example, neighbours and close trading partners Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam are leading the way in terms of small business confidence according to CPAcited by KPMG as leading the way in regional finance innovation.

 Given that both SME growth and innovation in the domestic finance market are on the national agenda in PNG, there are absolutely opportunities to learn from overseas markets and launch ideas domestically.

While still in its developing stages, this expanding market is set to benefit from increased activity in the Asia-Pacific region, future developments in the region and the kind of agility that is often difficult to kick-start in mature markets.

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Think of it this way: while mature markets and firms face resistance in terms of technology and process adoption, PNG and its Pacific neighbours have the ability to adopt new technologies, processes and ways of thinking right off the bat. While teams are still small, introducing new change and launching new initiatives are achievable when the right strategies and the right people are in place.

This environment is the perfect setting for leaders who are excited by the prospect of getting involved in new projects, mentoring others to build national expertise, and exploring new ways to apply global trends to a growing market.


Nationalisation of senior finance roles

A significant shift we are seeing across the country is the nationalisation of many senior finance roles that were once often held by expatriates. This trend is part of a broader movement across the country aiming to build local expertise and move away from a reliance on expatriate labour.

While there are still lessons to be learned from PNG’s Asia-Pacific neighbours and skill shortages in newer sectors, it’s so important to ensure that any expertise gained is passed on and kept in Papua New Guinea for the country’s long-term benefits.


Demand for true expertise and partnership

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For many investors or CFOs looking to expand into new territory in Papua New Guinea, lack of readily-available industry information and lack of available foreign currency are still real hurdles when considering new prospects within the country.

This creates a genuine need for professionals who can invest the time to understand their market and truly partner with their customers and clients to consult and advise.


If you are a finance professional searching for your next challenge, I would love to speak to you about some of the positions Peopleconnexion PNG have available with a range of clientele across the financial sector.

Alternatively, if you are searching for a recruitment partner that genuinely understands the market and takes a consultative approach to hiring, please contact me on for a conversation about our recruitment services.

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 Peopleconnexion PNG: Recruitment, Payroll, Training & HR Services

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