With lockdowns affecting wealth management, residents of one Asia Pacific country turned to more digital tools for investments and savings.

With its massive impact on livelihoods, business landscapes and national agenda, how has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the way people plan for retirement?

In the Asia Pacific region, the small size of Singapore made it easy for a digital wealth management firm conducting retail fund management activities, to do some research. It commissioned an online survey of 1,000 adults in Singapore aged 25 to 60 in Oct 2020 to track how people prepared for a comfortable retirement in the city—ranked globally as one of the most expensive places to live in.

The small study has unveiled some findings about digitalization that could help people in the region to make sense of technology’s impact.


The majority of Singaporeans planning for retirement saved more in 2020 than they did in 2019. However, the respondents felt their retirement readiness had been negatively affected by the pandemic. Additionally, in terms of digital impact:

  • Over three quarters of respondents said that they were using digital services more often to manage their finances, in light of social distancing measures.
  • 60% of respondents had experienced using a mobile app linked to finance, saving or investing, compared to only 53% in 2019.
  • There was a 5% drop in the number of respondents who had met with a financial advisor face-to-face in 2020 compared to 2019: 52% vs 57%.
  • Over half of those surveyed still preferred the ‘human touch’ when financial advice was needed: 56% of Singaporeans ‘agreed’ that, when they saw market swings that may have a negative impact on their investments, they would prefer to consult a human advisor for reassurance and advice.

Said Dhruv Arora, Founder and CEO, Syfe, the firm that commissioned the survey: “The impact of the pandemic has been felt in practically every aspect of our lives and naturally increased individual concern around financial security. It was therefore encouraging to see a marginal improvement in overall scores but, with the economic environment as challenging as ever, it is even more critical that Singaporeans review their approach to savings and investment to ensure that they can prepare adequately for the future.”