Grab-Singtel consortium to hire 200 staff in banking, fintech, tech roles for its digital bank

About 10 to 15 per cent of the roles in banking, fintech and technology in the Grab-Singtel consortium have been filled. PHOTOS: ST FILE, LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A Grab-Singtel consortium, one of two successful applicants for a digital full bank licence, has already started hiring for about 200 positions in Singapore that it intends to fill by the end of next year.

About 10 to 15 per cent of the roles in banking, fintech and technology have been filled.

Most of the 200 roles will be new hires, although Singtel and Grab employees are also welcome to join the new entity, said the consortium's newly-appointed chief executive and retail banking veteran, Mr Charles Wong, in a media briefing on Friday night (Dec 4).

It said it will create more opportunities for Singaporeans to take on technology and fintech roles, and will equip them with skill sets in cyber and information security, data science and analytics, as well as tech engineering.

The roles filled have been in areas such as product, data, cyber security and technology.

The new entity will focus on serving consumers and small businesses, starting with young professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), gig workers with flexible incomes, and micro-SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

It aims to enable these groups to easily access transparent financial services that are embedded in their everyday activities, although it does not have any concrete plans yet about the services it plans to roll out.

Grab and Singtel first formed the consortium to apply for the digital full bank licence in December last year.

Grab owns 60 per cent of it, while Singtel holds the remaining 40 per cent stake. It aims to formally launch the digital bank in early 2022.

Asked about the competition in the banking scene, Mr Arthur Lang, chief executive officer of Singtel's international business, described the financial services space as a "growing pie".

"With what's happening with the circuit breaker and the pandemic, it has accelerated digital habituation among all our customers, as well as consumers and enterprises."

He acknowledged that the consortium's competitors, such as the incumbent banks, have digital banking arms and are in a strong position.

However, he said the consortium is going into the competition "eyes wide open".

"We're not going in like the young start-up banks in other countries where they say they are out there to bring down the incumbent banks. We are both laser-focused on our customers and what we need to bring them joy and deliver something special."

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