Man with sought-after skills joins Google from Citi in Singapore

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Man with sought-after skills joins Google from Citi in Singapore

Google has raided the Singapore banking sector again to bolster its senior ranks, but this time the new hire isn’t a technologist or banker…he works in compliance.

Gurpreet Dhaliwal joined Google in September as its APAC payments compliance manager. He previously spent about 14 months at Citi as a senior vice president in group AML for APAC payment intermediaries and digital clients, an advisory role focused on new payment methods, such as digital payment processors, e-commerce marketplaces and e-wallet providers, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Dhaliwal was the Singapore-based head of financial crime compliance for correspondent banking for ASEAN and South Asia at Standard Chartered between 2015 and 2018, and prior to that did a one-year stint at Wells Fargo in Hong Kong as APAC lead for anti-bribery and corruption and fraud risk management.

Google’s expanding Singapore office has been busy hiring from the banking sector over the past year. It’s mainly been targeting technologists (it has a thing for cloud engineers from banks), front-office bankers (who can slot into strategy roles) and marketing professionals.

Dhaliwal’s move suggests that Google isn’t averse to recruiting from banks’ middle-offices in Singapore, which collectively employ thousands of compliance professionals. While compliance recruitment in banking has fallen from its 2017 peak, anti-money laundering experts like Dhaliwal remain in high demand and short supply. Should he ever choose to return to banking, Dhaliwal is likely to be welcomed back with open arms.

Banking professionals who want to join Google may be inspired by Dhaliwal’s move into its payments unit, which appears to be expanding in Singapore, opening up the potential for more hiring from banks. Google’s Singapore employees are “making critical contributions to global products such as Google Pay,” according to the tech firm's careers site. Google Pay is currently offering four Singapore-based vacancies, including two data analyst positions, which call for applicants with finance-sector experience.

Google isn’t the only tech company that’s hiring in payments in Singapore – the whole industry is experiencing a recruitment boom. As we noted in April, GrabPay hired Chun Han Quah as head of regional schemes and financial institution partnerships, while last month Yeo Tiong Ann joined Nets as head of product management. Both of them came from UOB. This trend is only set to gain pace this year as new players enter the payments market and existing ones increase their hiring. One of the latest companies to launch an e-wallet in the Republic is local gaming firm Razer. UK company Revolut announced plans in February to create new jobs at its APAC headquarters in Singapore.

These companies may well look to hire more compliance professionals like Dhaliwal. For example, last month Standard Chartered’s head of sanctions compliance for ASEAN and South Asia, Haze Heng, moved to Ant Financial in Singapore as head of sanctions compliance.

New Google recruit Dhaliwal started his banking career in Sydney in 2007 at Macquarie and joined AMP two years later. He joined Citi’s compliance team in 2010 and worked for the US bank in London and Hong Kong for four years, the first of his two stints at Citi.

Image credit: Ingus Kruklitis, Getty

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