OCBC may soon need to hire technologists with blockchain experience, if it decides to set up a crypto exchange. Helen Wong, the bank’s CEO, told Bloomberg that OCBC is “seriously” looking into launching an exchange and has carried out some work on it.
Rival DBS already has its platform, the DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx), up and running. It launched in December 2020 and offers trading services for digital assets such as cryptocurrencies and security tokens.
DBS has made both internal transfers and new hires into DDEx, suggesting that OCBC will follow suit if and when its exchange gets off the ground. As we reported earlier this month, Lionel Lim has been appointed CEO of DDEx.
As the first and second largest Singaporean banks, respectively, DBS and OCBC are likely to go head-to-head in a potential battle for the technologists, compliance professionals and other staff they need to work on crypto exchanges. “They’re bound to target the same type of people, and they offer the same advantages to candidates – the stability of a local bank as opposed to the instability of a crypto startup,” says a Singapore-based recruiter.
If you’re a technologist or banking professional in Singapore who wants to work in crypto, now may be a good time to make the move. The growth of roles focused on crypto is forcing employers in the finance sector to become more flexible with their job requirements, according to in-house recruiters from large banks in Asia who attended a recent round table event organised by eFinancialCareers. “If we go out in the market, there’s no other bank who will have such people. So I’m asking managers: Is this something we can train? Is there someone who’s doing it for other asset classes?” said a round table attendee.
Singapore is emerging this year as a hotbed for crypto jobs, at both banks and crypto startups. This is partly thanks to the Payment Services Act, which was rolled out at the start of 2020 to spur the growth of the sector.
Meanwhile, OCBC may also be able to tap its own talent pool if it starts building a crypto exchange in the future. The bank already has technologists with blockchain experience, according to LinkedIn profiles. Sidharth Bora, for example, is a transformation architect for emerging technologies, including blockchain.
OCBC has begun using blockchain to digitalise trade finance. Last year it and DBS launched their first “electronic banker’s guarantee” on the Singapore Customs Electronic Banker’s Guarantee Programmme.
OCBC is currently hiring for a blockchain platform engineer and a blockchain developer, the latter of whom will be “supporting an enterprise-grade blockchain platform”.
CEO Wong said while it’s worth studying crypto technology due to its potential to boost efficiency, her bank won’t rush into the sector just because of its current popularity.
Photo by Jeet Dhanoa on Unsplash
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