The overlooked Singaporean tech giant that’s quietly poaching big names from banks

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The overlooked Singaporean tech giant that’s quietly poaching big names from banks

If you’re pondering leaving the Singapore banking sector for a large technology firm, you probably have the likes of Google, Grab, Facebook or Amazon on your mind. Or perhaps you’re now tempted by a job at Shopee, the Sea-owned platform whose new office offers napping pods and an in-house masseuse.

There’s one company you may well have overlooked: Nets. The venerable Singaporean electronic payments giant may lack the glamour of other technology companies, but it’s been hiring senior people from banks this year.

Its latest banking recruit comes from UOB. Yeo Tiong Ann joined Nets last month as head of product management, after about 13 years at the Singaporean bank, latterly as head of e-channels product development for group wholesale banking, according to LinkedIn.

Nets, which launched its first payments terminals back in 1985, is owned by Singapore’s three local banks – DBS, OCBC and UOB – and seems particularly keen to hire people from them. As we reported in May, Kevin Tay, one of OCBC’s leading corporate bankers, joined NETS as head of corporate planning and strategy.

Nets may be Singapore’s most established payments firm, but it’s not the only one poaching from banks. As we noted in April, GrabPay hired Chun Han Quah – also from UOB – as head of regional schemes and financial institution partnerships.

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 the city state.

These fintech firms aren’t just hiring product managers and business strategists like Yeo, Tay and Quah, they’re also raiding banks’ technology teams for talent, say recruiters. There’s “continued demand” for developers to work on payments apps in Singapore, Clarence Quek, a senior client solutions director at recruitment firm Randstad, told us previously.

New Nets recruit Yeo is a veteran of Singaporean banks. He started his career as a business analyst at DBS in 1999 and joined OCBC in 2004 in an AVP job that focused on developing the firm’s corporate internet banking system. Yeo’s many achievements at UOB included leading the build-out of the mobile version of business internet banking.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for Nets in recent weeks. The company issued an apology last month after a public outcry (and a warning from the Media Development Authority) about its controversial ‘brownface’ advertisement.

Image credit: Neustockimages, Getty

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