ADDX appoints former SGX leader to board

The digital securities platform has appointed Sutat Chew to drive the platform’s international expansion.

Singapore-based digital securities exchange, ADDX, has appointed former Singapore Exchange (SGX) senior managing director, Sutat Chew, as chair.

Chew brings to the firm over 25 years of experience across financial services, including 14 years spent at the Singaporean bourse, where he led the global sales origination team and helped the business expand across 10 international locations. In terms of other prior experience, he has held senior roles at Standard Chartered, OCBC Securities and DBS.

The leadership appointment offers ADDX strategic direction as it looks to expand overseas. Specifically, Chew will be responsible for driving growth and innovation, the company release stated.

Speaking to FinanceAsia, Chew said that his priorities in coming on board involve cultivating strategic collaborations and partnerships so that ADDX is “poised to advance” its mission to democratise investment for wealth creation.

“We hope to meet the needs of customers in North Asia and the Middle East in the second half of this year through appropriate partnerships and joint ventures (JVs),” he said.

Operating on a private, permissioned blockchain that is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), ADDX offers issuers access to a larger pool of capital than is available through traditional fundraising means.

The platform’s employment of sophisticated digital processing technology enables it to manage the issuance, custody and distribution of private market products at a lower administrative cost compared to traditional markets and thus, the firm is able to reduce the fundraising entry threshold, inviting a wider community of investors to participate in capital exchange.

Regulation and innovation

Reflecting on progress and innovation across Asia’s capital markets, Chew said that it is the development of new forms of market infrastructure to support the advancement of digital assets, that excites him the most.

“Initiatives such as Project Ubin, Project Orchid and Project Guardian aim to explore the potential of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in areas such as payments, settlements, digital identity, and cross-border transactions – which should enhance efficiency, transparency, and security in the financial sector,” he told FA.

He commended the efforts of Singapore’s market regulators in supporting the city-state’s development as a “world-class global financial hub with a highly competitive and diverse financial ecosystem.”

“Regulators here have been at the forefront of technology and innovation in the financial sector, balancing it with appropriate consideration for education and investor protection,” he explained.

“The progressive stance taken by the MAS in recognising that tokenised securities should be regulated in the same way as traditional securities, gives companies like ADDX clarity to invest and innovate for global clients who can trust the regime.”

Market uncertainty

However, Chew acknowledged that the uncertain market economic climate threatens the capital market advancement.

“One of the challenges to market innovation is reduced investor confidence and risk aversion as part of the uncertain market environment. As investors become more cautious and conservative, that may result in more gradual adoption of new ideas, technologies, and investment opportunities.”

“What we have done is adapt to evolving investor sentiment and risk appetite, communicate transparently, as well as actively educate and engage investors to address their concerns, provide reassurance and offer a suite of products that meet their needs.”

As an example, he shared that the platform had helped four issuers raise more than S$650 million via commercial papers to meet near-term investment needs.

“I believe that regulators and responsible startups or fintech players can continue to work together to keep pace with emerging technologies and financial innovation, whilst striking a balance with appropriate regulatory safeguards,” he added. 

In addition to Chew, ADDX’s board comprises Oi-Yee Choo, who serves as CEO; and Inmoo Hwang, the firm’s COO.

Chew also serves as chair of ADDX’s listing committee, a position he has held since 2019; and he has been a board member of ICHX Tech – ADDX’s holding company – since 2018. MAS approved the operational transfer of ADDX from ICHX Tech in May 2022, and the platform began is regulated activities from September the same year.

ADDX’s shareholders include SGX, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Temasek subsidiary, Heliconia Capital, the Development Bank of Japan, UOB and Hamilton Lane, among others. In April last year, it partnered with UOB to execute the largest foreign currency digital bond in Singapore to date; a sustainability-linked bond, issued by Singtel. 

Read also: Temasek-backed venture debt fund tokenises on ADDX

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