Banking and Expansion the Wise Way – APAC region
Hi, I’m Paik Wan, Expansion Lead in the APAC region. Our APAC Expansion team is part of the Global Banking & Expansion team. We’re a team of 10, each solving exciting challenges across different regions in APAC — South Asia, East Asia, South East Asia, Pacific and Gulf.
Our team’s work is core to achieving Wise’s mission of money without borders — we aim to plant and fly the Wise flag everywhere in the world, ultimately enabling greater coverage, more convenience, better speed and price for our customers.
What is it like to work in the Expansion team — from the APAC point of view?
You’re exposed to a huge variety of tasks
In my opinion, the role of the Expansion team is unique — the nature of the role together with the way we work at Wise exposes us to a variety of tasks, and develops a wide range of skills. Key of what we do is working with the regional product teams and figuring out the best market entry strategy — how to enable a particular product or service that best meets our customers’ needs and then executing on them. This includes:
- Building and managing financial partnerships. The partners we work with include not only the bank partners but also payment service providers and card schemes. We are responsible for figuring out the ideal partner that can best support us in building Wise’s infrastructure, negotiating commercials, executing agreements and onboarding partners.
- Managing and obtaining licenses. As we’re a provider of payment services and we want to ensure we are adequately regulated, we’re sometimes required to apply for licenses. The Expansion team is responsible for executing the process end-to-end — we engage regulators and sometimes subject matter experts such as consultants or law firms, understand the regulations, do the application and get regulatory buy-in.
Our team currently supports about 20 countries in the APAC region. What makes the role really exciting is being exposed to all sorts of projects in different currencies and countries — each with distinct cultures, differing maturity in terms of payment infrastructure and legislation. While some may be more complex and challenging than others, the experience and knowledge gained is so rewarding! To highlight some examples, we enabled money transfers to China through a partnership with Alibaba’s Alipay, obtained a restricted banking licence by the Australian regulator that allows us to gain direct access to Australia’s real-time payments network and very recently we are directly connected to Singapore’s Direct FAST system which allows instant transfers in Singapore!
We get things done…but we’re not alone
At Wise, we work in autonomous teams. That means that every employee is entrusted with a specific mission and is responsible for working together with stakeholders in other teams to accomplish it. Regardless of how important or trivial a task may seem — such as filling in a bank form or getting documents stamped at the Notary Public — we’re expected to roll up our sleeves and do whatever it takes to get work done. We do so, because we believe that’s the best way to bring impact to millions of customers around the world.
Having said that, no one’s ever alone at Wise, nor expected to solve all of the world’s issues themselves. We have an open culture — we help and support one another regardless of where you’re located, what team you’re in, or what you’re currently working on.
You’ll be surrounded by lots of diversity
One of the things I enjoy about working at Wise is the ability to be part of such a diverse team. This truly shines through culturally, with people speaking many different languages, and bringing to the table various skill sets and opinions from all walks of life.
Fun fact — the Expansion team probably has more members in different offices around the world than any other team at Wise.
In the APAC team, the 10 of us are spread across 7 countries (out of the 15 offices we have globally) and counting!