Joining the ‘dragon’: how to get hired by Standard Chartered's hottest Asian team

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Standard Chartered is ramping up recruitment for the virtual bank that it expects to launch in Hong Kong. It now has 20 virtual banking roles on its careers website, in anticipation of the project soon receiving the regulatory green light.

The more senior roles on offer in the new team, which Stan Chart calls Project Dragon, include a head of customer service and operations, head of financial crime compliance, and head of data driven marketing.

In a major shakeup of Hong Kong’s much-maligned retail banking sector, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority is granting licences to virtual banks – which operate purely online and don’t have a physical branch network – for the first time. Stan Chart, along with some 28 other firms, submitted applications at the end of August, the first batch of which is expected to be approved in the coming weeks and months.

Stan Chart is believed to be the only mainstream bank to have applied for a stand-alone virtual banking licence. Other applicants include WeLab and HKT, as well as an alliance between Australia’s Airwallex, Bank of East Asia, and mainland firm Sequoia Capital China. 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.

Stan Chart is hiring across the board to make sure it can hit the ground running – not just in terms of building the platform, but also to ensure it complies with the regulatory regime, and can market the digital bank to new customers. For example, it is looking for a director of business compliance, a senior manager of regulatory reporting, a senior finance systems analyst, and a head of segment (focused on customer acquisition). On the technology front, Project Dragon’s vacancies include a DevOps engineer, frontend development lead, backend developer, and UX designer.

Recruiters expect high interest from candidates, especially technology professionals, for jobs at virtual banks. “Instead of working for a slow-moving Hong Kong retail bank, you’ll be going into a role which is being built from scratch under an exciting new regime,” says Warwick Pearmund, associate director of emerging technologies at Pure Search.

Stan Chart “set up a new entity for its virtual bank” in August and appointed Deniz Güven as its chief executive officer. Güven, who joined Stan Chart in May 2017 as global head of design and client experience for retail banking, is leading a team “to build a new banking model”, according to an August statement from the bank.

Some of his new recruits have already come on board. As we reported earlier this month, Chris Ashe has joined Project Dragon from UK-based Tandem Money as head of engineering.

Stan Chart hopes that having a separate local digital platform will help it break away from its global and legacy technology systems and allow it to win new customers by working more closely with startups, according to Reuters.

Image credit:  Zeferli, Getty

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