Veteran finance technologist Richard Kirby – whose 20-year career spans global markets, consumer banking and insurance – has left DBS after just 10 months for a large tech firm.
Kirby, who was programme director for consumer banking technology at DBS, moved to the Singapore office of IT solutions provider World Wide Technology (WWT) earlier this month as a programme manager.
He joined DBS in November last year having held several senior roles in Asian financial technology.
Kirby was at Prudential between 2011 and 2016, as director of regional IT and then (from 2015) as head of technology, strategic delivery.
Prior to Prudential, Kirby spent three and a half years at Standard Chartered as global head of financial markets technology infrastructure.
He worked at Barclays Capital from 2005 to 2007 as director of IT infrastructure and production services, a role in which he headed up network services, engineering, and the market data commercial group for Asia Pacific. Kirby was also in charge of IT for Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Australia at the bank.
His finance tech began career back in 1997 at Credit Suisse First Boston Securities, where he worked for eight years, latterly as a VP and regional network services manager.
This is not the first time that WWT, which employs more than 4,000 people globally and is America’s 30th largest private company, has poached a leading banking technologist for a Singapore role. In 2015, it opened its Asia Pacific headquarters in the Republic and appointed Nilesh Mistry, a New York-based J.P.Morgan digital banking CTO, as its APAC head.
Mistry and Kirby are outliers, say recruiters. “It’s not a big trend in Asia for senior banking technologists to join tech firms,” says Vince Natteri, director of headhunters Pinpoint Asia. “When it does happen, it’s sometimes because it can get pretty political in senior roles at banks. And tech companies like to boast when they get someone experienced from a bank, so it can be a win-win.”
By contrast, more junior developers at banks in Asia are now being poached by tech firms on a fairly regular basis, as are investment bankers, who are increasingly going into business development jobs at the likes of Alibaba and Tencent.
DBS, meanwhile, wants people to move the other way. It’s boosting its technology headcount by 100 people over the next few months and wants some of the new recruits to come from non-banking backgrounds, Soh Siew Choo, head of core systems technology at DBS, told us in May.
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