Bengaluru: India's talent magnet

When ANZ Chief Financial Officer Farhan Faruqui visited Bengaluru recently, he was struck by how lush and green the city was – despite rapid growth which has seen it dubbed the “Silicon Valley of India”.

“It's a beautiful city,” Faruqui told bluenotes after the three-day visit. “I continue to be surprised by how much development is happening. It just has an incredible buzz.”

"It has gone through a metamorphosis of kind that I haven't seen before. It has become the magnet for talent in India, in particular engineering and technology talent.” – Farhan Faruqui

Faruqui says the city’s numerous green spaces, a vibrant cuisine and other lifestyle factors are helping draw a skilled middle-class workforce to Bengaluru. He was there to meeting key business partners and spend time at ANZ’s Group Capability Centre which employs 8000 people.

In his more than 30-year banking career which has spanned three continents, Faruqui has seen plenty of cities emerge as national economies develop. What’s happening in India – and Bengaluru specifically – is difficult to describe, he says.

“It has gone through a metamorphosis of kind that I haven't seen before. It has become the magnet for talent in India, in particular engineering and technology talent,” Faruqui says. “If (its) not the first then certainly the second fastest-growing city in India.”

Bengaluru is helping to define the next chapter in India’s journey, Faruqui explains. It now accounts for a third – if not more – of all technology exports from India.

It is also a destination for headquarters – not just of Indian companies – but of global players looking for a place to do business in India. For example, Goldman Sachs has a base of 8000 workers in the city – its largest centre outside New York.

With such expansion can come growing pains. And Bengaluru is already experiencing these – resulting in the emergence of well-publicised traffic jams.

“I think their biggest challenge going forward is going to be just the infrastructure,” Faruqui says. “This incredible migration of talent and the growth in the capability centres being built across the city … is causing congestion and it's creating pressure on the infrastructure.”

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Farhan in Bengaluru

A city’s evolution

ANZ’s journey in Bengaluru began in 1989 when the bank first utilised the city’s workforce for processing work.

But as the city – and its workforce – have transformed, this has been mirrored in the capabilities at ANZ’s Bengaluru base which has grown into a true capability centre.

“It has evolved and today I would argue a lot of what's happening there is a transition and a pivot away from processing to adding value,” Faruqui says. “And that value is coming in the form of technology and innovation, automation, process improvement, data and insights.”

The changing demographics of Bengaluru, the young, well-educated workforce and an aspirational population is a great thing for India – but for ANZ as well.

“In many ways the talent that was there wasn't fully harnessed in the past. And we think the pivot that is happening now is going to be really good for the great talent that exists in Bengaluru.”

A competitive advantage

Faruqui witnessed first-hand the “value adding” at ANZ’s Group Capability Centre on his recent visit. Bengaluru, alongside our capability centre in Manila which has over 2000 staff, are of strategic importance, Faruqui says.

While the centre provides banking operations services like Retail, Commercial and Institutional banking, Trade Finance, and Technology - it also specialises in the areas of economic research, risk analytics, client insights and credit decisioning.

But perhaps most in keeping with the city’s innovation focus is ANZ Bengaluru has become home to some of the bank’s transformation initiatives.

It was an early adopter of machine learning and the bank’s very own version of the ChatGPT product – known as ZGPT – was developed by the skilled engineers at Bengaluru.

Faruqui says ANZ is doing everything it can to nourish its workforces’ desire to build a career in some of the most innovative sectors.

“That talent has become vital in terms of the transition,” Faruqui says. And he says the ANZ staff in Bengaluru want a career.

“They want to learn and they want to develop… they want to make sure they're delivering value and they feel connected to the entire enterprise.”

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ANZ Bengaluru Office

A bigger journey

The growth of ANZ’s operations in Bengaluru is part of the bank’s bigger journey to attract the best talent to deliver improved services to customers, he says.

“It is going to create great opportunities for us, create propositions for us, create insights for us and continue to improve our processes and our technology and our propositions to our customers, which give us a competitive advantage,” Faruqui says.

“There is incredible change happening and it is the beginning of the next phase in what I think is going to be phenomenal growth in Bengaluru.”

Brett Foley is Managing Editor of bluenotes

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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