Banks in Singapore and Hong Kong may be trying to step up their hiring from technology firms, but Google’s offices in the two cities are also developing a liking for staff at banks. And Google is targeting both technologists (it has a thing for cloud engineers from banks, for example) and front-office bankers (who can slot into strategy roles).
Who are some of the people who’ve quit banking for Google in the two Asian financial centres? Here’s a selection, based on their public profiles.
Carl Bachman Kharazmi, cloud engineering
In late 2017, Kharazmi, the former APAC head of cloud engineering at DBS, left the bank for Google in a cloud engineering role in Singapore, according to his online profile. He remains one of the most senior banking technologists to have joined the tech firm in the Republic. Since his departure, Google’s cloud unit has taken on other people from banks, including Keshi Tan, who worked for JP Morgan in Singapore as a vice president for infrastructure development, and is now a strategic cloud engineer at Google.
Barry Lin, ASEAN regional security manager
Lin’s move to Google in July 2017 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, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Sugandha Pandia, APAC strategy and business development
Pandia has worked in banking, consultancy and tech during her short career – but only for elite brands. She spent four years at Goldman, reaching associate rank by the time she left for McKinsey in 2012. Her move to Google in 2018 demonstrates the company’s desire to hire investment bankers and consultants into business development roles. Chinese tech firms like Alibaba and Tencent are doing the same.
Andre Heng, industry lead, government and financial services
Google is also hiring relationship managers from banks in Singapore. Before joining Google in 2016, Heng worked as an RM at DBS for 18 months, handling large corporate accounts, with a focus on domestic and regional power and utilities. His government responsibilities at Google stem from the six years he spent at the Singapore Economic Development Board.
Winter Zhang, technical consultant, Google marketing platform
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 2017.
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.
Zeal Tai, strategic partner manager, Greater China
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. Tai moved to Hong Kong last December to take on his current job.
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.
Benedict Tan, associate product marketing manager
Tan left Deutsche Bank in London in November 2017 to join Google. 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”.
Frankie Zhu, strategic partner development manager
Zhu has made two big career changes since graduating from Shanghai Jiao Tong University with an economics 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 in Hong Kong two years later.
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