Banking professionals can no longer order an Uber from Raffles Place, Marina Bay, or anywhere else in Singapore – but they can still get a job at the company.
Uber, which announced the sale of its local Singapore and Southeast Asian operations to ride-hailing rival Grab in March, retains an office in Singapore, which it uses as its headquarters for the wider Asia Pacific region. Among its latest recruits is regional program manager Sambhav Jain, who previously spent almost three years as an investments product manager at Citi in Singapore, according to his online profile.
Uber employed about 500 people in Singapore before the sale to Grab (some Uberites became Grabbers as a result of the acquisition, while others left or transferred internally), but it still has “well over 100” staff in the Republic, reports TechCrunch.
Jain is now working with a number of former finance professionals at the stripped-down Uber. There are 18 people at the company’s Singapore office who have previously worked for mainstream banks, according to LinkedIn results. They include Brooks Entwistle, chief international business officer at Uber, who worked for Goldman Sachs for more than 18 years, latterly as a partner and chairman of South East Asia.
Uber decided to keep its APAC head office in Singapore reportedly because Japan and Australia were deemed too remote and because drivers in Hong Kong have faced legal crackdowns. This means there are likely to be vacancies opening up in Singapore for the foreseeable future as the city supports APAC markets where Uber still runs its ride services, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and India.
The fact that Uber hasn’t exited Singapore isn’t good news for banks, which have faced increased competition for talent from large tech firms this year. For example, the company that ousted Uber from Singapore’s streets, Grab, recruited Gary Wong from OCBC in May as the head of its mobile wallet app, GrabPay. Amazon, Facebook and Google have also been staffing up their sizeable Singapore operations with help from the banking talent pool.
New Uber recruit Jain, who is an Indian national and Singapore permanent resident, joined Citi in 2015 following a stint of more than two years on the rice trading desk of Louis Dreyfus Commodities in Singapore, according to his public profile. He specialised in “fixed income, structured products and leverage” within Citi’s wealth management wing, and was involved in digital initiatives, such as the roll-out of e-signatures for investment subscriptions.
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