Standard Chartered woos Hong Kong candidates with Google-style jobs

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Standard Chartered first set up a unit to run its Hong Kong virtual bank in August last year, but if you thought its technology hiring spree was grinding to a halt, think again. More than half (53%) of the firm’s Hong Kong-based technology jobs are in the virtual bank.

The online-only bank is expected to launch in late 2019 or early 2020 and is being developed in partnership with PCCW, HKT and Ctrip Finance, but Stan Chart holds the majority stake, so the bank’s jobs appear on Stan Chart’s careers site. Stan Chart CEO Bill Winters said last month that the ongoing protests in Hong Kong “have had no effect” on his firm’s forthcoming debut as an online lender.

Standard Chartered has been hiring tech employees into its virtual bank – one of eight that have won licences to operate in Hong Kong – for several months. Earlier this year, for example, Andrew Farmer came on board as chief information officer, having previously been CIO of international financial services at Commonwealth Bank. Other senior recruits include Chris Ashe, who joined from UK-based Tandem Money as head of engineering.

But Stan Chart still doesn’t have all the engineers it needs. At a senior level, the firm wants a head of back-end engineering, virtual banking, who will presumably work closely with Ashe. If you land this role, which demands at least 10 years’ experience, you’ll be leading projects such as building web and mobile APIs, and you’ll be contributing to technical strategy and architecture. You’ll also be “interviewing, hiring and supporting new engineers”, an indication that Stan Chart’s virtual bank will be taking on technologists for months to come.

Standard Chartered’s Hong Kong virtual bank, which runs its infrastructure on the Cloud, also has plenty of rank-and-file tech openings, including jobs for a DevOps database engineer, DevSecOps engineer, quality engineer, data engineer, and DevOps Kafka engineer.

Whatever role you apply for, be aware that the digital bank’s technology stack is based predominantly on Kotlin, but its design “allows for using the most appropriate language” (Go, Scala or Rust) to solve problems. Stan Chart uses Kubernetes and Docker to run its services, employs Kafka for asynchronous message streaming, and uses GraphQL and REST for APIs.

One of Stan Chart’s main pitches to technology candidates is that its virtual bank is more like a tech firm than a financial institution. Stan Chart claims to be “applying learnings from Google, Twitter and Netflix” as it prepares the virtual bank for launch, according to its careers site.

Stan Chart is also promoting the allure of building a new bank “from scratch” using cloud native technologies. This has a ring of truth to it, say tech recruiters in Hong Kong, although they add that rival virtual banks (such as those led by Bank of China and Ant Financial Services) are similarly wooing tech professionals by offering them clean slates to build on, and freedom from clunky legacy systems.  “Instead of working for a slow-moving Hong Kong retail bank, you’ll be going into a role which is being built under an exciting new regime,” Warwick Pearmund, associate director of emerging technologies at Pure Search, told us previously.

Image credit: stw_15, Getty

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