Singapore robo advisors report huge surge in hiring

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Singapore robo advisors report huge surge in hiring

Digital wealth management fintech firms in Singapore are in expansion mode this year and next, with many hiring aggressively as they widen their customer base in multiple markets and expand product offerings.

Three robo-advisor startups that eFinancialCareers spoke with reported an urgent need for increased headcounts on a spike in demand for their services amid the pandemic.

Singapore-based Endowus has tripled its headcount in the past 12 months to 92 people on a 20-fold jump in new accounts, and is continuing this momentum in preparation for its Hong Kong expansion. The firm recently hired former Standard Chartered execs Dominic Ong and Valerie Tan as chief financial officer and head of risk and compliance, respectively, and Deepak Sarda from AWS as VP of engineering.

Digital wealth manager Syfe plans to double its team of 100 by end 2022, while StashAway has 40 open roles in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, UAE and Thailand, representing over 20% of its 190-strong workforce. Both firms are headquartered in Singapore.

Wealthtech firms are mainly seeking talent in tech, product and advisory to structure products for clients across the retail and high-net-worth markets, says Andrew Zee, senior vice president of Selby Jennings.

Endowus CEO Gregory Van says the firm is looking to boost its product and engineering teams to keep pace with the launch of new products and growing client base as the platform scales. Most staff come from tech companies, with a small group formerly from banks and financial institutions. “The WFH new normal has allowed us to consider hiring outside of the country, especially where there are gaps in certain areas of expertise,” he says.

Syfe is hiring in roles from customer service to operations to product development and marketing to power its “exponential” growth. “We noticed heightened interest in Syfe after the news of our Series B funding was announced in July this year,” says a spokesperson for the startup. “Most of our candidates come from global MNCs… we have also recently seen more ideal candidates coming from other fast-growing startups,” she adds.

StashAway, too, is seeking talent in tech, product, and marketing to support growth in its five markets and expand investment product offerings. The fintech is seeing more fresh graduates and mid-career switchers from banks and financial institutions apply, says CEO and co-founder Michele Ferrario.

Selby Jennings’ Zee says many candidates look at a firm’s growth and strategy, making it important for firms to “sell the sizzle” to attract candidates.

The three robo advisors all cited their position as fast-growing finance disruptors as a key pull factor for candidates, on top of other draws like a flat hierarchy and competitive pay and stock options.

“A lot of candidates are coming forward to express their passion and strong interest in being part of the change of what’s next in investing,” says Endowus’ Van, while Syfe’s Yong says candidates “want to be part of an organisation that is disrupting the current status quo in wealth management”.

StashAway’s Ferarrio adds: “Many [candidates] are looking to be with players that will change or are looking to change the way their industries operate, and they want to be at the forefront of that.”

And though competition for tech talent is heating up, burgeoning interest in these firms means they can still afford to be selective about who they hire. In recent years, Endowus has recorded a 50% jump in candidates, while Syfe and StashAway have seen 20-50% and 100% increases, respectively.

Robo advisors aren’t the only fintech firms hiring in Singapore. On Monday, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said that it will be opening a new tech hub in the city state.

Photo by Phillip Glickman on Unsplash

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