You might not have heard of Project Dragon, the internal code name for the new digital bank that Standard Chartered is building in Hong Kong. And the online-only bank isn’t even operational yet as Stan Chart awaits regulatory approval from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). All the same, there are new jobs in the unit – plenty of them.
The latest senior person to move to Stan Chart’s digital bank in Hong Kong is Adelee Tong, who’s left DBS to join as head of digital accounts and deposits. Tong spent just over four years at the Singapore bank as head of deposits for Hong Kong.
As we’ve previously reported, the virtual bank has been hiring aggressively since last August when Stan Chart “set up a new entity” for the unit and appointed Deniz Güven as its chief executive officer. And it’s been taking on technologists as well as business development people like Tong.
Earlier this year, for example, Andrew Farmer came on board as chief information officer, having previously been CIO of international financial services at Commonwealth Bank in Hong Kong. Other new recruits include Chris Ashe, who joined from UK-based Tandem Money as head of engineering late last year.
Stan Chart is hiring across the board – not just in terms of building the platform, but also to ensure it complies with the HKMA regulatory regime, and can market the digital bank to new customers. It currently has 24 vacancies for the virtual bank, including eight developer roles and management positions such as head of tech risk management and head of data driven marketing.
In a major shakeup of Hong Kong’s much-maligned retail banking sector, the HKMA is granting licences to virtual banks – which operate purely online and don’t have a physical branch network – for the first time. Some 30 firms, including Stan Chart, submitted applications at the end of August, but about 10 of these were rejected. HKMA has shortlisted about a third of the remaining applications for the next stage of assessment. The regulator aims to start granting virtual banking licenses by the end of this quarter.
Stan Chart is believed to be the only mainstream bank to have applied for a stand-alone licence (other applicants include WeLab and HKT). Stan Chart’s bench strength – both new recruits and internal transferees – is expected to stand it in good stead in the HKMA’s eyes, says a source with knowledge of Hong Kong virtual banking.
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