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Steinebach joins Visa – and more fintech people moves

D’Haussy exits InvestHK, Illuz joins StanChart, Cross leaves DBS, and more.

Maaike Steinebach

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Maaike Steinebach has joined Visa as general manager for Hong Kong and Macau. She previously served as Hong Kong chief executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as well as similar roles at ABN AMRO, and China manager at Fortis Bank in Shanghai.

In fintech, Steinebach is best known for setting up CBA’s digital lab in Hong Kong, although that team was disbanded last year due to bigger financial problems at the bank in Australia. She is also a co-founder of the Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

At Visa she replaces Caroline Ada, who is now global head of usiness planning and operations. She reports to Shirley Yu, group general manager, Greater China.

DigFin will be catching up with Steinebach in the coming weeks to get more insight into her mandate at Visa. She offered up this teaser via email:

“Recently Visa launched the Fintech Fast Track Program in Asia Pacific, to better collaborate with our fintech partners. Speed is of the essence when it comes to launching solutions and finding market-fit. With Hong Kong being a hot spot for fintech, the team and I are already deeply involved with various projects. With cash still dominant in many of the merchant segments in Hong Kong, we hope to bring Visa’s fast, safe and simple payment experiences to more people.”

In other moves…

Hong Kong

Charles d’Haussey has left InvestHK, according to officials there. D’Haussey is reportedly joining a blockchain company, but did not return DigFin’s enquiries. He took on the InvestHK role in September 2016 and has been an indefatigable champion of fintech in the city. He previously handled sales at 8 Securities, the digital wealth advisor, but developed his career in the LED lighting industry, as CEO for Asia Pacific at Lucibel, and founder of Diligent Group.

Philippe Metoudi was named CEO at Fintica, an A.I. company developing solutions for financial institutions. Fintica is a collaboration between Israeli-based Cortica, an A.I. developer, and Duotem Capital, a venture firm founded by Metoudi in 2013 that invests Asian capital into Israeli technology companies.

Among many roles in Metoudi’s career, he is well known in the region for his 20 years at Clearstream, where he served a variety of functions including chairman of its market committee, from 2008 to 2012.

Hayden Lau joined Jasmine22 as head of legal. Jasmine22 is a new business backed by HSBC developing technology solutions for trade finance. Lau was previously a TMT lawyer at DLA Piper.

Medhy Souidi has been appointed head of fintech and StartupXchange at DBS Bank. He joins from the startup community, having run startup events for payments, fintech and regtech at Metta, an entrepreneurs club. He remains active as co-chair of the blockchain committee at the Fintech Association of Hong Kong.

Renee Howie was promoted at Commonwealth Bank of Australia to be chief operating officer, international. She has been with the bank for three years, previously in charge of marketing for CBA’s business bank, private bank, investment bank and global markets business in Asia, the U.K. and the U.S.

Cavan Chan has joined Block Manic as head of community relations. For the past two years he has been a headhunter on the fintech beat at GTP Talent Search. Block Manic is a startup incubator.

Ryan King was promoted to CEO at EmurgoHK, the commercial arm of the Cardano blockchain protocol. He previously served as director of acceleration, supporting startups developing dApps for Cardano.

Singapore

Yuval Illuz has joined Standard Chartered as global head of operations for cyber, data, privacy and automation. It is a newly created role, reporting to David Whiteing, group COO. Illuz has over 20 years of experience in technology, IT, cyber security and operations. His last role was group chief information security and trust officer at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Ketan Samani was named advisor for digital platform and innovation at SoHo Capital, a private investment company. Semani continues to run consumer digital at Singtel, a post he’s held since October since leaving UBS, where he had served as managing director and chief digital officer for the wealth-management business.

China

David Chang was named vice president of the Shanghai Blockchain Association. The government-backed group channels resources to incubate blockchain businesses. Chang has also been named an industry fellow at Berkely Blockchain Accelerator in California, helping commercialize blockchain startups out of the university. Since last summer he as served as co-founder of Blockchain Fund Global Alliance, connecting blockchain businesses between China and the rest of the world.

Australia

Neal Cross has left DBS Bank in Singapore after nearly five years as managing director and chief innovation officer. He is taking up the chair at Picturewealth, a Perth-based software company providing consumer finance and budgeting apps. He was already an investor in the company.

Cross has been a regular fixture at fintech conferences thanks to his mandate to change the culture at DBS, helping make the bank a regional pioneer in digital development. He joined DBS in April, 2014, following roles at MasterCard and Microsoft.

Germany

Christoph Langewisch, founder and CEO of Lakoma, a group helping startups create tokenized businesses, has co-founded the Institute for Applied Blockchain in Berlin.

U.K.

Mark Makepeace was named non-executive chairman of information services at London Stock Exchange. He has served as group director of that business, the largest business unit at LSE, since 2011, along with other roles. Makepeace first worked at LSE in the 1990s before leaving in 1995 to found FTSE, the index business, which is now FTSE Russell.

USA

Jouko Ahvenainen has joined the board of directors of RoboCorp Technologies in San Francisco. RoboCorp is an open-source developer of robotic process automation (RPA).

Ahvenainen continues his roles as co-founder and executive chairman at Grow VC Group; his chairmanship of Difitek, an API-backed, cloud-based financial back office; and as co-founder of Prifina, a financial-inclusion service provider.

Landon Ewers joined Goldman Sachs in New York as vice president of engineering finance. He was previously chief operating officer at KapitalWise, an A.I. fintech selling personalization software to banks.

Company News

NexChange, Horton Point launch digital asset market

The aim is to create an environment for investors to build and manage portfolios.

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Asia-based blockchain venture firm NexChange Group announced a partnership with New York alternative investment firm, Horton Point, to launch a marketplace for the institutional digital asset management industry.

The Nexyst platform will provide access to a broad range of professionally managed, actively traded crypto strategies and passive investment solutions. Nexyst will debut its initial offering in October 2019.

Nexyst is created to provide better transparency and to improve investment decisions for institutional investors interested in the digital currency asset class. 

The platform will enable qualified investors to perform online fund sourcing, due diligence and monitoring, and customize portfolios by a number of parameters such as risk, return, correlation and drawdowns. Nexyst utilizes proprietary optimization technology powered by Eleven Marketplace OS to deliver customized portfolio solutions to each investor.

Nexyst will also provide fund managers with integrated access to CRM, data room, behavioral analytics and customer engagement solutions for enhanced marketing and investor relations.

The Nexyst ecosystem is supported by an active global blockchain community developed by the NexChange Group. Horton Point is responsible for manager sourcing and due diligence. In addition to a transactional component, the platform will provide manager research, value-added content and tools enabling both sides to interact efficiently.

“Our goal is to create a one-stop platform where qualified investors and fund managers can actively engage with each other in a secure and compliant manner,” said NexChange Group CEO and Nexyst co-CEO, Juwan Lee.

The intent is to create an environment in which qualified investors can make informed decisions about this new asset class, said Nexyst co-CEO and Horton Point CEO Dimitri Sogoloff.

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Company News

OKEx seeks global standards for crypto exchanges

OKEx seeks partners to develop a global self-regulated organization aimed at standardizing practices.

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OKEx, one of the world’s largest spot and futures digital asset exchanges, announced an initiative to create a self-regulated organization (SRO) aimed at standardizing exchange practices and policies. Similar to the World Federation of Stock Exchanges, FINRA in the United States, and the World Economic Forum, OKEx is engaging exchanges and market participants in the global crypto-trading community to become members of this initiative.

This SRO will be an independent, membership-based organization that is neutral and open to exchanges of all sizes and jurisdictions. Member exchanges will work together to define and adopt standards that will promote digital asset adoption globally, educate governments and regulators, and develop metrics and criteria for trading, listings, and reporting.

“Cryptocurrencies are global and decentralized, and the industry remains nascent, thus regulations by jurisdiction are not enough,” said Andy Cheung, head of operations for Malta-based OKEx. “The only way for exchanges to grow and deliver impact is by joining together to develop practices and policies that will set a global standard and adapt to regional regulatory frameworks.” 

Exchanges must clarify their operational practices and procedures in order to best cooperate with governments and encourage innovation in this sector.

OKEx invites other exchanges to join the company in establishing standards for market-making, listings, delistings of digital assets, and other items critical to the growth of the entire industry. Crypto exchanges share a common goal to protect investors and traders, and to foster innovation in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

“While other organizations have introduced initiatives to elevate standards for crypto exchanges, most are focused on one jurisdiction. Our initiative is focused on creating a global SRO that can provide international standards,” said Enzo Villani, head of international strategy and innovation at OKEx.

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Company News

SWIFT and HSBC to define API standards for Hong Kong

The new standard will ensure higher levels of interoperability and improve customer experience.

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SWIFT and HSBC announce today they are joining forces to define a common industry standard JSON for APIs, re-using ISO 20022 components, the initiative will see the Hong Kong banking community working together to review and agree on this standard.

In July 2018, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority introduced its Open API Framework, to facilitate the development and broader adoption of APIs by the banking sector. Since its launch, over 500 APIs have been made available by the 20 participating banks.

The new standard allows merchants to setup direct debit authorization and initiate the collection instruction to bank on behalf of their consumers. This initiative by SWIFT and HSBC aims to avoid fragmentation on common use cases, speed up and ease API integration efforts and incremental investment for industry participants, and ensure interoperability with the Hong Kong Faster Payment System’s (HK FPS) underlying clearing and settlement system by reusing ISO 20022 as a standard.

ISO 20022 is already widely adopted by market infrastructures across the world, including HK FPS, and is set to become the new standard for cross-border payments in the years to come, making it a logical choice when adopting a new technology. 

Lisa O’Connor, managing director, capital markets and standards, APAC said: “In recent years, the financial industry has moved from safe payments to fast payments, and is now embracing richer data payments as the world is moving towards Open Banking. In this context, the adoption of a common set of standards, such as ISO 20022, is a necessity to ensure interoperability between systems and reap the full benefits of Open APIs.”

Nadya Hijazi, head of digital, global liquidity and cash management at HSBC, said: “At HSBC we understand that the market is rapidly changing, with customers more technologically sophisticated and digitally oriented in their approach. We are thus committed to meeting the demands for an industry that is faster, more personalized and easily accessible. At HSBC we see immense value in defining an ISO 20022 JSON standard and have adopted these standards in our Treasury APIs for collections in Hong Kong.” 

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Steinebach joins Visa – and more fintech people moves