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The man keeping BNP Paribas ‘secure’ in Asia has left for Citi

BNP Paribas’ corporate and investment bank has lost its head of IT security in Hong Kong to Citi. Alfree Cheung has joined the US bank in a senior information security role with APAC-wide duties.

Cheung’s move comes as most banks in both Hong Kong and Singapore step up their recruitment in information security, which has recently become one of Asia’s most in-demand banking technology jobs. Most of the hiring over the last 12 months has come from banks such as Citi, Standard Chartered and HSBC, which generate a high proportion of their income from Asia, meaning they need to employ more security professionals on the ground in Hong Kong and Singapore, say recruiters.

Singaporean banks have also been recruiting. Last year, for example, Anthony Fung joined OCBC’s technology information security office as head of group red team (the unit that hacks the bank’s tech systems to test vulnerabilities) after previously working for Standard Chartered. UOB, meanwhile, hired Tobias Gondrom as chief information security officer.

Security jobs are becoming more in demand as banks in Asia 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. Skill shortages are also fuelling hiring as banks rush to replace senior team members after they are poached by competitors, say recruiters.

The small talent pool in Hong Kong and Singapore, where high demand for information security professionals is a more recent phenomenon than it is in the West, means banks are open to candidates from outside of finance. Knowledge of the latest information security systems can potentially trump work experience in banking.

UOB’s Gondrom, for example, was poached from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, where he spent three years as chief technology officer for security. OCBC’s Fung spent about nine years at Microsoft, latterly as a senior digital-crime unit manager, and only joined the banking sector in 2015.

New Citi recruit Cheung is vastly experience in banking, however. He joined BNP Paribas in Hong Kong in 2012 as and APAC IT security risk manager and was promoted to his head of IT security job in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. Cheung held both roles concurrently until his departure to Citi.   

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

Image credit: LordRunar, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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