Standard Chartered’s new cyber head doesn’t come from a bank

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Standard Chartered has appointed Peter Lewis as its Singapore-based head of cyber awareness insights and reporting. Lewis comes not from a bank, but from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in the state government of Victoria, Australia, where he spent about a year as a programme director in cyber security.

Lewis spent the previous six years at NBN, the company building Australia’s broadband network, latterly as a strategy and performance manager, responsible for developing and implementing strategy for cyber/information, physical and personnel security.

Lewis joins Stan Chart as it steps up its investments in technology, which has in turn put more demand on the cyber security function. Stan Chart spent $1.6bn on tech last year, up from $900m in 2015, but investment into its legacy systems flatlined, according to its 2018 annual report. It’s now much better to be in a ‘systems enhancement’ or ‘strategic’ job (as Lewis appears to be) – costs in these two categories trebled over the three years

Senior professionals with cyber skills are in high demand and short supply in Singapore, and Lewis’ hire suggests that banks are prepared to recruit from overseas and from outside the finance sector to overcome the talent squeeze. Cyber security is among the top-five most valuable skills in financial services, according to a major Singapore government report published just last month.

Most of the hiring over the past year has come from banks such as Stan Chart, HSBC, Citi, DBS, OCBC and UOB, which generate a high proportion of their income from Asia, and therefore need to employ more cyber security professionals on the ground in Singapore, say recruiters. Citi is hiring in the function in Singapore in response to increasing digitalisation of its products and the growing “sophistication of the bad actors”, Vikram Subrahmanyam, the bank’s APAC CIO, told us in October.

Security jobs are becoming more in demand as banks tackle the growing threat of cyber attacks and seek to comply with increasingly vigorous local regulations, such as Singapore’s Cybersecurity Act, which became law in February last year. 

New Stan Chart recruit Lewis started his career back in 1994 and has since held several IT-focused project management positions in Australia and the Middle East.

Image credit: danielvfung, Getty

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