Eight people who’ve quit banking for Google in Singapore and Hong Kong

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Just when banks in Singapore and Hong Kong are trying to step up their hiring from technology firms, Google’s offices in the two cities are developing a liking for banking professionals.

Aman Narain, head of digital and fintech for APAC at Schroders, joined Google as regional head of e-commerce, retail and travel partnerships for Asia Pacific earlier this month. And in November, Google hired Carl Bachman Kharazmi, the APAC head of cloud engineering at DBS.

But you don’t need to be in a senior leadership role at a bank to join Google, which opened a new campus-style APAC headquarters in Singapore 14 months ago. Here are some people who have made the move.

Benedict Tan, strategy and operations marketing

One of the tech firm’s newest banking recruits, Tan left Deutsche Bank in London in November to join Google in Singapore last month. He spent two and a half years as an analyst at the German bank, working on various strategy-related projects including developing “a proof-of-concept blockchain prototype”.

Anubhav Bhatt, industry manager

Citi veteran Bhatt joined Google’s Hong Kong office in 2015. He started his career at Citi in India in 2007 and became head of online acquisitions just four years later. In 2013, he relocated to Singapore for a digital sales job at the US bank and was then promoted into a VP-level digital media strategy role. Digital banking specialists are now becoming prime targets for tech firms like Google and Alibaba as they muscle into the payments sector in Asia.

Barry Lin, ASEAN regional security manager

Lin’s move to Google in July last year helped to further exacerbate the shortage of senior security staff in the Singapore banking sector. He previously spent 11 months as Southeast Asia security operations manager for Goldman Sachs, having worked for Barclays in Singapore and Hong Kong for nearly 10 years, latterly as regional manager of corporate security and investigations.

Winter Zhang, ads solution technical consultant

Like Lin, Zhang comes from Goldman. After graduating with a Bachelor of Engineering from Nanyang Technological University she joined Goldman Sachs Asset Management in 2014 as a Singapore-based software engineer. Zhang moved to Tokyo the following year to work in the bank’s securities clearance and settlement technology team. Showing its willingness to poach analysts after they’ve been trained up by banks, Google in Singapore hired her in October last year.

Weel Yang Wei, software engineer

Google clearly respects the calibre of Goldman’s young developers – in 2016, it poached Wei from the US bank’s software team in Singapore. Wei worked there for three years as a global investment research technology analyst following an internship at Morgan Stanley.

Frankie Zhu, strategic-partner development manager

Zhu has made two big career changes since graduating from Shanghai Jiao Tong University with an economic degree in 2006. He worked as an auditor at PwC in Shanghai until 2009, but then relocated to Hong Kong to start a five-year stint as an equity research analyst at Credit Suisse. Zhang took a research role at Morgan Stanley in 2015, but left banking for Google two years later.

Zeal Tai, APAC data analyst

Tai trained as a graduate associate on OCBC’s Young Banker's Programme between 2014 and 2015, and then spent a year as an assistant manager in IT business analytics. Google in Singapore recruited him in June 2016 as one of 25 people on its analytics training programme, and he secured a permanent role there 12 months later. Banks in Singapore may be hiring more data analysts, but they are also increasingly vulnerable to poaching as tech companies look for similar candidates.

Edmund Tham, technical operations manager

Tham is another recruit from a Singaporean bank, having worked as a VP in UOB’s tech team between July 2014 and November 2016, when he joined Google. Prior to that, Tham spent two years as head of desktop strategy and engineering at OCBC. Since joining the banking sector in 2005 he has also worked for Barclays, Standard Chartered and Merrill Lynch.

Image credit: SpVVK, Getty

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