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Women leaders in fintech

25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech: day one

We introduce the first group of the industry’s women leaders…along with a proposal that might surprise you.



This week is dedicated to highlighting 25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech, with “fintech” defined broadly. (Scroll below to find the first third of our group; more to come tomorrow.) About half are senior digital, data, information and business heads at financial institutions. The others are founders or running P&Ls in the technology world, from vendors to startups to crypto.

Gender aside, they represent the digital-finance scene in Hong Kong in microcosm.

But they are women. It’s no secret that finance, technology, and fintech companies skew toward males, to a degree that is often unhealthy.

From discussions with the people we profiled, this imbalance results largely from too many women opting out of the industry. We want to present our leaders as role models, in the hope it encourages younger women to stay in the game.

Michelle Chan, FWD

“Hong Kong is a hard market in which to go digital,” said Michelle Chan, head of business development at insurer FWD. “But we need to push because that’s the trend.”…READ HER STORY

Bianca Ho, Clare.AI

Four years ago, Bianca Ho made a list of the skills she’d need to be a business founder. She had already cut her teeth helping a tech startup, Zendesk, commercialize customer-support software…READ HER STORY

We heard a few stories from our leaders of overt sexism, but our batch of leaders powered past such slights. The real problem is subtler. Most men in tech and finance aren’t misogynists, but as a class, they are oblivious to their privilege. This manifests itself more at home than at the office. Family pressures and assumptions that women carry the brunt of childcare and other domestic chores is what can stymie a career.

More can be done. Government plays a role in supporting diversity. Hong Kong, for example, has just enabled spouse visas for same-sex partners. Society plays a role, too: diversity thrives in cultures that encourage multiculturalism, merit and competition.

Vikki Huang, Enuma Technology

Vikki Huang graduated from university into the teeth of the 2008 global finance crisis. She turned adverse conditions into a springboard for a career in investment banking, doing mergers and acquisitions…READ HER STORY

Annette King, Galileo Platforms

“I’ve stuck with tech because of the massive business opportunity,” said Annette King, co-founder of Galileo Platforms, an insurance software company. “Hundreds of millions of people in Asia…READ HER STORY

“Hong Kong is historically a multitude of talent,” said Charles D’Haussy, head of fintech at InvestHK, which partnered with DigFin on this project. “This city has always worked to attract skilled people from the West, from mainland China, and from the rest of Asia. Now Hong Kong, with its open-visa policy, has instituted a fast track for tech talent.”

Businesses should promote diversity. Not to be “nice”. But because it leads to better governance and decision-making. And because when there are structural impediments to inclusion, particularly of women, it deprives businesses of literally half the talent available. Imagine: as digital technology leads more businesses to personalize services, how are they going to generate revenues if they don’t understand what their women customers need?

Janice Ku, HSBC

From the start, Janice Ku was into tech. “I studied engineering,” she said. “I love computers and math.” But she came to prefer client-facing work to hardware development…READ HER STORY

Sandy Lau, GoBear

Sandy Lau feels like the development of her career has led her, almost inevitably, to her role as GoBear’s head of Hong Kong. The online comparison website has let her leverage on a career…READ HER STORY

Ultimately the barriers to women are flimsy; these 25 leaders testify to that. Here we present techies, math nerds, business heroes, type-A alpha females. From conversing with them, the closest thing to a gender type is that many women don’t push for something until they feel secure, whereas men are more buccaneering. So the lesson to is: go for it, gals. And don’t be shy angling for that exciting job.

As for employers, there’s a lesson for you too. It’s true that many companies actively seek female employees with science, computing and tech backgrounds. But it’s not enough to want to hire women: the work-life balance has to be addressed. Yet women don’t want to be patronized; nor should companies treat them differently.

Venetia Lee, Alipay

“I always put myself in a position where I’m little bit uncomfortable,” said Venetia Lee, Ant Financial’s general manager for Alipay in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. “I always want to do something interesting”…READ HER STORY

Connie Leung, Microsoft

Connie Leung joined a startup out of university, writing programs for a software company creating a new wholesale banking solution. “We got 20% of the market share in Hong Kong,” she said…READ HER STORY

DigFin – in the spirit of innovation – suggests a different way: make paternity leave mandatory for one month. Just as banks enforce an annual two-week, no-communications leave, employers should remove their male employees from the scene so new fathers may bond with their infants, take a few weeks to share in child-rearing, and be rendered inert to their colleagues.

Thank you to the following people for helping us generate this leaders list: Karen Contet Farzam of WHub, Michelle Paisley of The Women’s Foundation, Warwick Pearmund of Pure Search, Fran Thompson of Pathfinder Talent Solutions, and Maaike Steinebach of Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

Women leaders in fintech

Photos: DigFin Women Leaders

Full house at DigFin’s networking event for women leaders, students and young professionals.




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DigFin hosted an event on Monday, December 3 on the back of our October series featuring 25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech. The idea was to leverage our list to create a learning and networking opportunity for young people. Too many qualified young women drop out of science, tech or finance jobs too early, perpetuating a stark gender imbalance in the industry. We wanted to highlight success stories for students and young professionals.

We organized an evening at Eaton House to bring together some of our women leaders, students from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and many younger and mid-career professionals contemplating a move into fintech. There were a few older souls as well. Fintech is open to everyone! (Click on individual photos to enlarge.)

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Women leaders in fintech

25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech: the list

We list 25 notable women founders, business heads, technologists and digital experts among fintechs, financial institutions and vendors.



With the support of InvestHK, DigFin is proud to highlight 25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech. Our leaders have hardcore tech jobs at financial institutions, senior executive roles overseeing digital initiatives, are founders and business managers of fintechs, and run large tech vending businesses. Click on the name to read their story.

Thank you to the following people for helping us generate this leaders list: Karen Contet Farzam of WHub, Michelle Paisley of The Women’s Foundation, Warwick Pearmund of Pure Search, Fran Thompson of Pathfinder Talent Solutions, and Maaike Steinebach of Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

Michelle Chan

Head of business development, Hong Kong


Bianca Ho



Vikki Huang


Enuma Technology

Annette King


Galileo Platforms

Janice Ku

Senior product manager for digital and data


Sandy Lau

Hong Kong CEO


Venetia Lee

General manager and head of Hong Kong, Taiwan & Macau


Connie Leung

Senior director for financial services, Asia Pacific


Sophia Leung

Chief information officer, Asia Pacific

J.P. Morgan

Li Ting


Yunfeng Financial Group

Amanda Liu

General manager

OAX Foundation

Morgan McKenney

Head of core cash management, Asia Pacific


Surrey Mui

Chief information security officer (APAC & business delivery center)

Credit Suisse

Maggie Ng


FinEx Asia

Priscilla Ng

Chief customer and marketing officer

Prudential Hong Kong

Benedicte Nolens

Head of regulatory affairs for Asia and Europe


Megan Pillsbury

Asia head of technology business development and innovation office

Morgan Stanley

Emily Randall

Managing director, head of Asia Pacific

Edge Technology Group

Josianne Robb

Head of digital transformation, Asia

Joining an insurance company

Cat Rüst

Head of innovation technologies, Greater China

UBS Wealth Management

Maxine Ryan



Jessica Wu

Director, I.T. global strategy, Asia


Yvonne Yiu

Head of global liquidity and cash management, Hong Kong


Amy Yu

Head of institutional sales


Nina Zhou

Head of principal investments & acquisitions, North Asia

Swiss Re



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Women leaders in fintech

25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech: day three

We conclude our profiles of women leaders, plus views from headhunter Warwick Pearmund.



Today concludes our project highlighting women leaders in Hong Kong fintech, which was conducted with the support of InvestHK. Tomorrow we’ll run a list with all 25 people. Our women-leaders project will remain free to all visitors to our site.

To accompany this project, we asked Warwick Pearmund, a headhunter at Pure Search, to tell us the implications for talent when there remains such a skewed gender ratio in fintech roles.

Megan Pillsbury, Morgan Stanley

With an education in engineering, Megan Pillsbury naturally gravitated to high-tech companies and startups – but now she’s helping drive innovation within a major financial institution…READ HER STORY

Emily Randall, Edge Technology

Emily Randall has pursued a career in financial technology as it has transformed. As the MD and head of Asia Pacific at Edge Technology Group, she is at the center of cloud and cyber-security…READ HER STORY

Josianne Robb, on the move

Josianne Robb thought her career was over before it had even begun: a junior operations person at Euroclear in her native Belgium, she entered the wrong information on a ledger and cost the firm $18 million…READ HER STORY

Pearmund writes:

As the father of two young girls I am, of course, interested in their hopes and dreams. I will certainly do everything that I can to help ensure they have access to the right opportunities, and access to the role models to help them make their own decisions.

In my day job, as a recruiter for advanced technologies, these are the two themes that crop up, time and again, when people ask me about the under representation of women in technology.

Cat Rüst, UBS Wealth Management

The biggest surprise Cat Rüst experienced when she moved from the world of tech startups to that of banking came about three months into her job. She had just joined UBS Wealth Management…READ HER STORY

Maxine Ryan, Spark

Maxine Ryan studied international relations in Australia, but upon graduation, “Nothing interested me.” She returned to her native Hong Kong and a friend introduced her to crypto – and she was hooked…READ HER STORY

Jessica Wu, MetLife

In 2008, Jessica Wu got her dream job. A technology graduate from university in Canada, she had begun a career in software sales at IBM before returning to her native Hong Kong as a contractor at HSBC…READ HER STORY

First: Why is it that, in a sector that is expanding across all industries, and in an environment that, in many countries, favours female empowerment, technology is failing to keep pace? It is not for lack of opportunity. If anything my clients often go out of their way to ask for female representation on candidate shortlists.

Second: Do we lack role models? No. But there are far fewer senior female leaders in technology in Hong Kong, and regionally, than is ideal.

How can we facilitate change quickly and equitably?

Yvonne Yiu, HSBC

After twenty years of running cash-management businesses, Yvonne Yiu this summer took on the role of head of global liquidity and cash management for Hong Kong at HSBC…READ HER STORY

Amy Yu, BitMEX

Amy Yu grew up in Texas. “I’m from ‘Houston, we have a problem’ Houston,” she said: her mother was a NASA programmer. Yu didn’t want to follow in those footsteps: she felt the action was in finance…READ HER STORY

Nina Zhou, Swiss Re

Nina Zhou built a career in investment banking in the U.S. and Asia before making the jump to fintech, joining CreditEase, then one of the pioneering peer-to-peer lending marketplaces…READ HER STORY

Companies are finally realizing the importance of work/life balance and adjusting their policies accordingly. Competition is part of this driver, as China and America’s biggest tech companies have become employers of choice. If traditional industries want to keep themselves attractive to the brightest and the best then they too have to focus on flexible working arrangements, family considerations and other non-monetary selling points.

Despite best intentions, the truth about recruiting women executives is that there is a shallower pool to draw from. We need, therefore, to look at the reasons for the imbalance and how we can address this. Girls routinely outperform boys in secondary education and yet there is a massive disparity of men and women reading for technical degrees in university. For those that do graduate and move into the high-tech industry, the quit rate is more than twice as high for women (41 percent) than it is for men (17 percent), according to the U.S. National Center for Women & Information Technology.

Therefore we must start at a younger age. Although information technology is an accepted part of children’s education, programming and gaming are too often seen as boys’ hobbies. We need to get girls coding, gaming and tinkering from a young age to develop a love of technology. Open source and APIs should come as naturally to my daughters as riding bikes.

The good news is that people are acting on these needs. The Talent & Diversity Committee of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong, which I co-chair, works with universities at the post- and undergraduate levels to incorporate fintech into business degrees. We are working on initiatives to get children, boys and girls, to visit innovation labs and other projects that show how tech embraces the wider world – that it matters, and is exciting.

Finally we are supporting ideas like DigFin’s profiling of women leaders in Hong Kong fintech – because it’s not enough to simply groom future entrepreneurs and execs, but to show young people that the role models they want to emulate are here now, and that they are the new normal.

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25 women leaders in Hong Kong fintech: day one