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Former UBS China president joins cryptocurrency firm as CEO

[LONDON] Karen Chen, the former president of UBS (China) Ltd., has been appointed chief executive officer at cryptocurrency firm Higgs Block Technology Pte. Ltd., joining other finance veterans in jumping ship to the burgeoning digital-asset industry.

Chen started at Higgs Block in December, the Singapore-based blockchain company said in a statement. The group, founded in August, includes an exchange called Coinsuper and units that provide private-banking, over-the-counter trading and consulting services for cryptocurrencies. Chen left UBS in October for family reasons, she said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

A growing number of financial professionals have joined cryptocurrency companies after spectacular gains in Bitcoin and its peers over the past year lured mainstream investors.

“There are many challenges, including security, risk management, custodian and settlement issues,” said Hong Kong-based Chen, one of the few female executives in the male-dominated industry. “Those important controls and risk management rules haven’t all been adopted in the crypto world. That offers the business good opportunities.”

While finance-to-crypto moves have been less common in China after the government banned digital-asset exchanges and initial coin offerings, Chen said Higgs Block is offering blockchain advisory services to its Chinese clients. The technology is still highly relevant in the country despite the crackdown on cryptocurrencies, she said.




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