Binance Singapore today announced the appointment of Richard Teng, former chief regulatory officer of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), as chief executive, bolstering its leadership ranks with former regulators while battling growing regulatory woes around the world.

Fast facts

  • Teng was CEO of the Abu Dhabi Global Market for six years before stepping down in March. Prior to SGX, Teng spent 13 years at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as its director of corporate finance. He spearheaded the formulation and administration of Singapore’s Securities and Futures Act, according to his LinkedIn profile.
  • “We are witnessing rapid mainstream adoption of the blockchain and crypto technology, leading to the need for greater understanding and appreciation amongst individuals, institutions and governments,” Teng said in a statement. “We seek to work closely with industry leaders and policymakers to enhance understanding of this fast growing industry and support its sustainable growth.”
  • Binance — which operates the world’s largest spot and derivatives cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume — has been in the crosshairs of regulators around the world over its stock tokens, derivatives trading services and know-your-customer (KYC) practices. The exchange has been on a mission to expand its compliance headcount, which has grown by 500% since last year, as it beefs up its KYC and anti-money laundering measures. On Friday, Binance announced that all users globally will now be required to complete “intermediate verification” — which involves customers providing their name, nationality, date of birth, address details, government ID and facial verification — to access Binance products and services.
  • Speaking at an event in July, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) acknowledged that the exchange had “not done a great job communicating with the regulators” and was looking to hire former regulators to improve communications with authorities. “This way they join our organization, they know what’s going on here, and they can use the same language to speak to their ex-colleagues,” Zhao said. “Then the communication will get better.” Zhao also said that Binance is looking for his successor — someone with a strong compliance and regulatory background to lead Binance.
  • “We are delighted to have Richard leading the Binance Singapore team in securing more strategic partnerships, fostering innovation and furthering the local cryptocurrency ecosystem in Singapore,” said Zhao in a statement. “Binance is not only a leader in technology innovation — we will also be a leader in regulatory compliance. Having Richard joining us is a big step in that direction.”
  • Binance currently operates in Singapore as Binance Asia Services under an exemption from holding a license as part of transitional arrangements under the city-state’s Payment Services Act for the provision of digital payment token services. The exemption allows entities to provide services while their license applications are being processed. Binance Asia Service’s licence application is being reviewed, a Monetary Authority of Singapore spokesperson told Forkast.News in July. The exemption will cease when an entity’s licence application is approved, rejected or withdrawn. The MAS spokeperson also said that the regulator was “aware of the actions taken by other regulatory authorities against Binance and will follow up as appropriate with the applicant.”