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Bank of Singapore hires ex-Credit Suisse man as new MD amid S$200m spend

Bank of Singapore has made another senior technology hire with the appointment of Cognizant partner Nimish Shah as its chief digital officer. Shah’s move, which comes as BoS increases its tech spending, follows that of Anju Tiwari, who joined BoS in January from Julius Baer as a managing director in operations and technology.

Shah spent one year and nine months at the Singapore office of US tech consultancy giant Cognizant, where he focused on the banking and financial services sector in ASEAN, according to his public profile.

Prior to that Shah worked for Credit Suisse for nearly 14 years and held three Singapore-based APAC leadership roles, including head of strategy and architecture for operations IT. Shah was most recently (2013 to 2017) head of strategy, architecture and engineering services for the digital private bank at CS.

His MD-level appointment by BoS highlights a specific area of high demand within the Singapore job market: private banking technology. More tech jobs are opening up at private banks in Singapore as rich millennial clients demand round-the-clock investment advice and management via their smartphones, say recruiters. Led by the likes of industry leaders UBS, Credit Suisse and BoS, the city state has become a tech hotbed for most private banks.

Recent senior hires in the sector include Avik Bera, who joined Julius Baer in Singapore in March as an executive director, focused on digital products. Like Shah, Bera was poached from Cognizant.

Technology costs at large private banks in Asia were up 15% year on year for the first nine months of last year, according to consultancy Scorpio Partnership. Shah’s new firm, Bank of Singapore, is no exception to this trend. It’s spending about S$200m between 2018 and 2020 on digital projects, primarily to create more personalised content for clients using data analytics and artificial intelligence. Some of this money will presumably be used on projects led by Shah.

As a rule, private banks like BoS aren’t recruiting for business-as-usual tech roles in Singapore. “Technologists are primarily using new tech such as machine learning, big data and AI to digitalise the wealth industry,” Shinjika Shukla, an associate director at recruiters Michael Page in Singapore, told us previously.

New recruit Shah joins Bank of Singapore in the midst of an expansion drive – and not just in technology. Last year the firm, which is owned by OCBC, hit US$100bn in assets under management, and it wants to double that total by 2022, CEO Bahren Shaari told the Business Times. BoS took on 20 relationship managers in 2018, taking its RM headcount to 450, the fourth highest total of any private bank in the region, according to Asian Private Banker.

Shah started his career at software and consultancy firm Trigyn Technologies in 1998. He worked there for about four years before starting an initial stint at Credit Suisse as a senior technology consultant. Shah worked briefly for Merrill Lynch in 2003 and then rejoined CS at the end of that year.

Image credit: NithidPhoto, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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