Bank IT Asia—The strategic moves of Eric Tachibana

FY Teng

Eric Tachibana APAC COO Chief Technology Office UBS

Eric Tachibana
Chief Technology Office

Eric Tachibana will be speaking at the Asian Financial Congress held at Marina Bay Sands Singapore on 27-28 February. If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asian Financial Congress website for details.

Eric Tachibana crafts strategy for and runs a variety of functions for UBS' Investment Banking, Wealth Management and Asset Management Technology groups in Asia Pacific. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at the business schools of the National University of Singapore and Thammasat University in Thailand, and helps develop entrepreneurial initiatives via a private equity fund he founded in 2000. Tachibana was recently named by IDC Financial Insights as one of Asia's top banking information executives and we caught up with him to ask a few questions. (Note: the views expressed are Mr Tachibana's and do not necessarily accord with those of UBS.)

Tell us about your career path to date.
Actually, although I've spent most of the last decade in big MNC Financial Services firms, the majority of my career has been in the start-up community.  After grad school, during which I was working in the non-profit sector, I went straight to The Valley, where I was part of a team that built, and eventually sold, a software firm that developed Enterprise Java widgets.

After that, in the second half of the 1990s, I came out to Asia, and went on to start-up and sell an additional three IT-related firms, one building bespoke corporate banking applications, one doing Symbian mobile software, and the other doing Java-based interactive television games.  After that, I moved into Private Equity and started a decade of investing in seed round and Series A ventures in Southeast Asia.

Along the way, I started teaching Intrapreneurship at the National University of Singapore, and that was a turning point. Up to that time, I'd focused on disruptive start-up innovation, and though I'd led companies through high growth, the largest team I'd worked with was about 150 people. Teaching Intrapreneurship though, was more about innovation in large companies and MNC environments. So I knew that I needed to get some in-the-trenches experience to really teach the topic well.

Fortunately, just at that time, a buddy of mine at Merrill Lynch, was tasked to grow the Singapore tech team from 200 to 2000 over 2 years, and he was looking for someone with start-up and high-growth experience to come in as COO. This fit perfectly with my goals of building experience in an MNC environment, so I joined Merrill.  My time at Merrill (and later Bank of America Merrill Lynch) was phenomenal, and I eventually increased my scope from Singapore Tech COO to APAC COO for Banking, Capital Markets, and Wealth Technology and Operations.

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