Grab poaches from UOB in latest raid on Singapore banking sector

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Grab poaches from UOB in latest raid on Singapore banking sector

The expansionist payments arm of Grab, the $10bn Singaporean tech unicorn, continues to target the banking sector for its new recruits. One of the latest hires is Chun Han Quah, who’s just joined GrabPay, the firm’s mobile wallet, from UOB as head of regional schemes and financial institution partnerships.

Quah had worked in financial services for 15 years, most recently as a senior vice president for business finance at UOB. He is now tasked with accelerating GrabPay’s growth and leading its “engagement” with financial institutions across Southeast Asia, “focused on partnerships and potential joint ventures”, according to his online profile. Quah is understood to be based within the business development team at GrapPay.

Quah is not the only person to have left a Singaporean bank for GrabPay. The payments app – which is part of Grab Financial, a unit which also runs lending, insurance and other fintech services – is headed up by Gary Wong, who joined last year from OCBC, where he was head of strategic partnerships.

While Grab and rivals such as GoJek are partnering with banks on various projects – UOB and Grab have teamed up on the latter’s ride-hailing app, for example – they are also poaching staff away from banks. This trend is only set to gain pace this year as new players enter the payments market and existing ones step up their hiring. The latest company to launch an e-wallet in the Republic is local gaming firm Razer. UK company Revolut announced plans last month to create new jobs at its APAC headquarters in the city state.

These tech firms aren’t just hiring business strategists like Quah from banks, they’re also raiding banks’ technology teams for talent, say recruiters. There’s “continued demand” for developers to work on payments apps in Singapore, says Clarence Quek, a senior client solutions director at recruitment firm Randstad. GrabPay’s tech jobs – architects and UX specialists, for example – are based within the shared product team at Grab Financial.

What does it take to get a job at GrabPay? Whether you’re applying for a role in technology, business development or operations, it’s important to “fit into the culture”,  GrabPay boss Wong told us last year. “For example, I’ve actually rejected candidates who were very good technically, but weren’t collaborative enough in their outlook to be successful here,” says Wong. “So if you’re interviewing at GrabPay, expect to meet a variety of people from other business units across Grab as a whole – being able to work collaboratively is important.”

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Image credit: afif c. kusuma, Getty

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