DBS’s latest senior recruit comes from an unexpected place

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DBS’s latest senior recruit comes from an unexpected place

DBS has made another senior technology appointment, but he’s not from a tech firm or a rival bank in Asia…he most recently worked for Fannie Mae, the government-sponsored US housing-finance provider.

Dave McMunn has relocated to Singapore to join DBS’s expanding technology and operations division as head of strategy and platform transformation, focused on consumer banking and core engines, according to his online profile.

He was with Fannie Mae between 2008 and 2018, latterly as a senior director for the agile center of excellence. There he led the firm’s efforts to transform itself into a “lean agile organization”, introducing a startup product development mindset, and establishing implementation approaches that “scale and model agile principles”.

McMunn doesn’t have a recent background in banking, but his agile expertise makes him a sought-after candidate in the sector as banks like DBS look to roll out the collaborative, cross-functional approach to software development. Experience of working in an “agile environment” is now more critical to getting a technology job at DBS, Soh Siew Choo, head of consumer banking and big data analytics technology, told us previously.

While Fannie Mae might not seem like an obvious headhunting ground for a Singaporean bank, DBS is increasingly hiring technologists from outside the banking sector in order to introduce new skills and new approaches to problem-solving, Soh told us in a separate interview. “We’ve been very successful in attracting candidates from tech companies and from other tech-intensive industries such as media, gaming, and telecommunications,” she said.

Local shortages of banking-tech candidates also mean DBS and its rivals (OCBC, UOB, Citi, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered are hiring tech professionals in large numbers) can’t rely on poaching from one another.

McMunn is not the only senior person who’s moved from the US to DBS in Singapore in recent months. Charlie Cheng, who formerly worked as a director at Google’s Mountain View headquarters joined the bank earlier this year as an MD specialising in cloud engineering. As we’ve previously reported, banks in Singapore are still filling some of their niche senior technology jobs with foreign candidates, despite reducing their overseas hiring at a junior level because of restrictions on work visas.

McMunn’s hire is part of an ongoing recruitment drive in technology across all ranks at DBS. More than a third of the 1,233 people that DBS added to its headcount in the year to end-March work in technology.

McMunn, who started his career in 1991 at Arthur Andersen, held four senior jobs at Fannie Mae, including director, enterprise data, agile transformation office. Prior to Fannie Mae he spent more than eight years at IT company Command Information in Washington DC.

Image credit: RomanBabakin, Getty

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