American Express names Sharon Chew VP & General Manager of Global Merchant Services Asia

American Express announced the appointment of Sharon Chew as the Vice President & General Manager of Global Merchant Services Asia.

In her new role, Ms Chew will be responsible for all aspects of card acceptance, including payments processing, client management, merchant partnerships and the development of new payment technology to drive merchant acceptance for American Express cards in the region, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and India markets.

Sharon Chew commented:

“I am excited for this new role and am looking forward to strengthening our existing merchant and acquiring partnerships; forging new relationships, while further expanding our reach in the region. With its diverse customer base and evolving payments landscape, Asia is a unique market for American Express where we are committed to enhancing our merchant value proposition.”

Sharon Chew first joined American Express in 2004 and during the initial 16 years, held leadership positions across consumer and network businesses leading product and marketing, supporting proprietary issuers and bank partners across 17 markets in Asia. Prior to rejoining American Express recently, she was the General Manager for loyalty solutions for Asia-Pacific in Mastercard overseeing loyalty engagement for financial institutions, digital partners and strategic merchants across Australia, Greater China, North & South Asia and South-east Asia.

With over 20 years of experience in the payments space, Sharon chew has led large-scale enterprise projects and business transformation initiatives with a proven track record of successful leadership and results across local, regional and global teams.

MAS strengthens regulatory measures for digital payment token services

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today published its final tranche of responses to feedback received on its proposed regulations for Digital Payment Token (DPT) service providers in Singapore.

The consulted proposals detail business conduct and consumer access measures to limit potential consumer harm. It also stipulates minimum technology and cyber risk management requirements for DPT service providers.

With regard to business conduct, MAS will issue guidance for DPT service providers to implement these measures, which received broad support from a wide range of respondents:

  • Identify, mitigate and clearly disclose potential and actual conflicts of interest;
  • Publish policies, procedures and criteria that govern the listing of a DPT; and
  • Establish effective policies and procedures to handle customer complaints and resolve disputes.

Regarding consumer access measures, DPT service providers should discourage cryptocurrency speculation by retail customers by:

  • Determining a customer’s risk awareness to access DPT services;
  • Not offering any incentives to trade in cryptocurrencies;
  • Not providing financing, margin or leverage transactions;
  • Not accepting locally issued credit card payments; and
  • Limiting the value of cryptocurrencies in determining a customer’s net worth.

In the area of technology and cyber risk, MAS will require DPT service providers to maintain high availability and recoverability of their critical systems, in line with current requirements imposed on financial institutions.

MAS’ regulatory measures on DPT services will be implemented through regulations and guidelines, which will take effect in phases from mid-2024. This will provide an adequate transitional period for DPT service providers to properly implement these measures.

Ms Ho Hern Shin, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision), MAS, said:

“DPT service providers have the obligation to safeguard the interests of consumers who interact with their platforms and use their services. While these business conduct and consumer access measures can help meet this objective, they cannot insulate customers from losses associated with the inherently speculative and highly risky nature of cryptocurrency trading.

We urge consumers to remain vigilant and exercise utmost caution when dealing in DPT services, and to not deal with unregulated entities, including those based overseas.”

KX, Engine AI partner to offer generative AI platform for clients in financial services sector

KX and Engine AI announced today a partnership to offer a native, generative AI platform for clients in the global financial services sector.

Supporting advanced use cases including similarity search, recommendation systems, and pattern matching capabilities, this collaboration is set to revolutionize the way organizations approach trading decision-making and execution performance while boosting end-user productivity and seamlessly integrating within existing workflows.

Farhang Mehregani, CEO, Engine AI:

“We empower our clients to monetize the value of their data with AI-native data analytics applications. Our powerful, open, end-to-end enterprise platform and intuitive Data Analytics Co-pilot all engineered to unlock the full potential of AI and data analytics. We are thrilled about our partnership with KX, who offer exceptional vector and time-series database capabilities, making them the ideal partner for the financial sector”.

Ashok Reddy, CEO, KX:

“KDB.AI brings time and situational awareness to generative AI applications, while providing a superior developer experience. These capabilities, combined with Engine AI’s expertise in application delivery, is a game changer for retail and institutional clients looking to benefit from the transformative potential of generative AI. Together, we accelerate our clients’ abilities to address the most complex, high-frequency Financial Services use cases, significantly reducing time to insight from large data. We’re not only meeting our clients’ current AI-driven demands but also pushing the boundaries to redefine the future of intelligent finance”.

KDB.AI offers advanced search capabilities, empowering developers to bring hybrid similarity, fuzzy, temporal, and real-time search to their AI-driven applications. Built to handle high-speed, time-series data and multi-mode query data processing, it democratizes access to real-time data analytics, enabling business users to conduct searches on live financial market information through natural language search.

Moreover, its seamless integration with popular LLMs and machine learning workflows and tools, including LangChain and ChatGPT, and native support for Python and RESTful APIs means developers can perform common operations using their preferred applications and languages.

ASIC bans former Magnolia Group Capital director from providing financial services

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has disqualified former Magnolia Capital Group director Mitchell Atkins from managing corporations for a period of 5 years and banned him for a period of 10 years from providing financial services and engaging in credit activities.

The Magnolia Capital Group of companies collapsed in 2022 owing unsecured creditors millions of dollars. The Group operated businesses between 2018 and 2022 that provided investors with financial advice and services in relation to secured lending transactions and share investment.

Mr Atkins was a director of all the companies in the Magnolia Capital Group, including 13 companies where a liquidator’s report was lodged with ASIC and identified that the companies were unable to pay their unsecured creditors more than 50 cents in the dollar.

From 19 September 2018 to 7 October 2022, Mr Atkins was an authorised representative of Australian financial services licensee Guildfords Fund Management Pty Ltd.

ASIC’s findings included that Mr Atkins:

  • failed to act in good faith as a director by putting investor funds at risk, showed a lack of honesty and integrity by creating false documents, co-mingling investor funds and displayed a lack of competence, professionalism and financial management such that it is in the public interest that he be disqualified from managing corporations;
  • is not a fit and proper person to provide financial services due to him dealing in financial products without authorisation from Guildfords, making misleading and deceptive representations to investors about their investments and dishonestly retaining investor funds which were due to be repaid to investors; and
  • is not a fit and proper person to engage in credit activities, including because he failed to undertake training, deal with investor complaints and to respond to requests from Guildfords.

The liquidators of the Magnolia Capital group of companies have reported a deficiency to creditors of between $40-50 million.

On 2 March 2023, Mr Atkins was declared bankrupt. In June 2023, ASIC obtained an order from the Federal Court of Australia to restrict Mr Atkins from leaving Australia for a period of six months.