Meet the man who’s about to move into the most demanding job at DBS

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It’s perhaps a trifle optimistic for DBS to continually describe itself as a “23,000-person startup”, but there’s no doubt that the bank has been investing (and hiring) heavily in technology in recent years. And DBS’s expanding tech unit is arguably the most influential at the bank – its exploits are regularly highlighted by CEO Piyush Gupta.

Gupta has heaped much of his praise on one person, DBS’s group head of technology and operations, David Gledhill, the man responsible for standardising the bank’s platforms, introducing agile practices and cloud systems, and picking up Euromoney’s 2018 award for the world’s best digital bank in the process. Gledhill, though, has just announced that he’s returning to the UK and will leave DBS on August 1, after 11 years at the bank. The pressure of leading the leviathan tech unit at DBS will soon fall on Jimmy Ng, who’s been its deputy head since January 2018.

What do you need to know about Ng if you want a technology job at DBS? For starters, Ng has substantial experience in governance as well as tech, so you might want to demonstrate an understanding of compliance issues if you interview with him. Ng was group head of audit between October 2012 and December 2017, responsible for “strengthening the bank’s control environment, risk management and governance process”, according to the DBS website.

You may also want to talk about how DBS technologists can improve the efficiency of other departments at the bank. In an article posted while he was running the audit function, Ng expressed his enthusiasm for automation via “computer assisted audit techniques” that speed up the auditing process.

If you want to work for Ng, it may potentially help to have ABN Amro on your CV. Ng worked there from 1996 to 2008 in Singapore, London and Amsterdam, latterly as regional head of global markets operations for Asia Pacific, according to his public profile. He then transferred to RBS when it acquired the Dutch bank. Ng joined DBS in November 2009 as a managing director and head of consumer banking operations. He started his career as a system analyst at Singtel before joining the technology audit function at JP Morgan in 1990.

Ng has a BSc in Information Systems from NUS and an MBA from NTU – and for the past 10 years he’s been a guest trainer at the SMU Financial Training Institute. If you want to meet him at SMU, however, you’ll need to do the Financial Industry Information Systems (FICS) certification and attend his derivative operations module.

The good news, if you want a technology job at DBS under Ng, is that the bank is hiring in large numbers. In the year to end-March, more than a third of the 1,233 new jobs that DBS created were for what the firm classifies as ‘insourced’ tech professionals – people who previously worked on DBS projects at vendors but are now employed by the bank.

DBS has also been poaching from both tech firms and banks. It’s been hiring, for example, senior engineers to lead its development of AI, deep-data engineering, APIs, and mobile applications, Soh Siew Choo, head of consumer banking and big data analytics technology, told us in March. DBS currently has 91 experienced-level tech vacancies in Singapore on its careers website. The firm’s annual recruitment hackathon, Hack2Hire, also helps DBS to add new junior developers – as many as 100 in Singapore and India – to its workforce.

Image credit: Tomatopictures, Getty

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