Neal Cross departs DBS to join Aussie fintech


After a five-year stint as DBS Bank’s Chief Innovation Officer, Neal Cross has announced his departure from the Singapore-based financial services heavyweight, joining local fintech PictureWealth as company chair.

In a farewell post to his LinkedIn profile, the widely respected tech evangelist summoned the parting words of the late American playwright Thomas Meehan: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Whilst acknowledging his good fortune to work with some of the “brightest minds in finance” during his tenure as CIO, Cross hailed his own DBS team as “the most passionate and creative people I have ever worked with.”

Speaking with FST Media in 2016, Cross was quick to recognise his DBS team in driving the bank’s progressive digital agenda.

“While luck is an important factor in success, the people around you are even more important. Without the support and collaboration of the people around me, we wouldn’t able to roll out all the innovation initiatives we’re introducing. Give recognition to these people around you,” he said during the interview.

Despite lofty ambitions (and doubtful onlookers) at DBS, Cross said his overarching goal to position the bank as a digital leader were largely realised.

“I was quite clear that I wanted to make DBS the world’s most innovative bank and I remember in the early days many people laughed at this but [five] years on there aren’t many that doubt that DBS is a top-flight finance innovator.”

Today, DBS is rated among the world’s most technologically advanced banking institutions, last year named both the ‘World’s Best Digital Bank’ and ‘World’s Best SME Bank’ by Euromoney.

On awarding the bank, Euromoney said “DBS [had] shown the power of being articulate about digital banking and the bank has long since entrenched an entrepreneurial, tech-led culture which pervades every business line and every level of seniority.”

Following Cross’ departure, DBS has promoted innovation head of ecosystems, Bidyut Dumra, to lead the innovation team and Mark Evans, the bank’s current innovation management head, to run the experience strategy team.

PictureWealth is a Perth-based developer of consumer-friendly financial tracking tools. Cross said its wealth management platform has gone from “$0 million to $100 million funds under management in [six] months.”

Cross has also remained professionally active outside the financial services sector for a number of years.

In addition to his new role at PictureWealth, Cross will continue to pursue his passion for environmental protection, managing two conservation-based hotels in Indonesia, launching a new book, and working as “an advisor on several projects across Asia and beyond, many of them outside of banking,” he said.