OCBC just hired a new head for its hottest Singapore tech team

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Technology roles at Singapore’s three local banks were in high demand in 2018, and the job market looks likely to remain equally buoyant this year. Our recent analysis of vacancies at OCBC, UOB and DBS shows that more than a quarter (27%) of all jobs across the firms are in tech-related functions.

At OCBC, one of the most expansionist digital teams to work in right now is The Open Vault, which was set up in 2016 to collaborate with fintech startups, and has since been hiring. Now the unit has a new head, Reuben Wakeley.

Wakeley hails from EY in Singapore, where he spent a year as a consultant and director of financial services for APAC, according to his LinkedIn profile. “As part of his responsibilities, Reuben oversees the development of fintech innovations and innovation culture for the bank,” Pranav Seth, head of e-business, business transformation and fintech and innovation group at OCBC, told us.

This means Wakeley has a lot on his plate. There are now about 28 so-called innovation labs (including ones from DBS, HSBC and Deutsche Bank) in Singapore, and they are all competing against each other to partner with fintech firms and to test and launch new digital products. Open Vault also has a wide remit and focuses on sectors such as wealth management, credit and financing, insurance, and cyber security. In March 2018, it launched an AI lab with an initial investment of $10m over three years, led by data scientist Ken Wong.

Wakeley replaces Altona Widjaja, who moved to OCBC NISP, the firm’s Indonesian business, last September to lead the digital ventures team there.

Prior to moving to Singapore with EY in December 2017, Wakeley worked for Macquarie in Sydney as head of partnerships. He joined Macquarie in 2014 as digital lead for banking, following a stint in a similar role at Westpac.

Innovation labs in Singapore have recently experienced some musical chairs. As we reported in December, Fernn Lim, previously Open Vault’s head of culture and fintech acceleration, has joined SC Ventures, a Standard Chartered unit that invests in startups and promotes rapid implementation of new digital products.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: smortlock@efinancialcareers.com

Image credit: siyuanma, Getty

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