Big banks in Singapore fear “tsunami of jobs" from digital rivals like Grab

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Big banks in Singapore fear “tsunami of jobs

Singapore unicorn Grab is hiring a chief risk officer, a director for balance sheet management, and six team head roles for its digibank arm as it barrels closer to its early 2022 launch date. 

The team-lead jobs are in market and liquidity risk, rewards and benefits, audit, compliance, business performance and strategy, and save, investments and insurance.

Among the 68 digibank openings on its careers site include a plethora of roles across seniorities in areas like risk analysis, product design and management, software engineering, data science and management, payment screening, and capital and liquidity reporting.

The tech firm has already filled half of the roughly 200 roles it said last year it would hire to build its digital bank from the ground up. In collaboration with Singtel, Grab was one of two applicants to win a digital full bank licence in Singapore, allowing it to serve retail customers. 

A Grab spokesperson says the hiring progress is “on track”, with over 100 positions filled. “We’re hiring in phases and have seen strong interest from applicants in our open roles,” she adds. 

The company is actively recruiting from the technology, fintech and banking sectors to fill roles across its business functions, digital and technology teams, and banking operations, the spokesman adds.

Traditional banks are taking notice. “The digibanks, especially Grab, are only just getting started with their tech hiring. There will be a tsunami of jobs coming from them soon, which will make it even harder for us to find tech talent,” says a HR manager at a bank in Singapore.

Grab is developing core banking infrastructure to “reimagine the banking experience” with “simple, fast, and flexible solutions and services tailored for our target segments”, says the spokesperson. Candidates must have the “right” technical competencies, bring “rich and diverse experiences” to the team, and be “excited about the prospect of building something new”.

Earlier this year, Grab poached talent from brick-and-mortar competitors to fill senior digibank roles. They include Citibank’s Charles Wong (now CEO of the digital bank), Varo Bank’s Jon Woods, OCBC’s Greg Cher, and Standard Chartered’s Gregory Sim, Aniket Gadre, Tonia Chen and Arun Manivannan.

Grab in April announced plans for a Nasdaq listing in partnership with Altimeter Growth Corp via a record US$40bn SPAC deal.

Hiring is quieter over at Singapore tech giant Sea Ltd, the other recipient of the full digital bank licence. Twenty-two digibank roles are listed on its careers site, including jobs for fraud, credit and market risk management, liquidity, operational, treasury, deposits and payments management, UX design, and data governance.

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