The WFE's Women Leaders 2022 - Janice Kan, Head of Markets for Equities, Singapore Exchange

By: The WFE Focus Team Mar 2022

Member: Singapore Exchange (SGX)

Nominee’s name: Janice Kan

Nominee’s job title: Managing Director, Head of Markets for Equities

1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job:

Janice Kan is the head of markets for equities at the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

She has leadership and revenue responsibilities in SGX’s core equities franchise, comprising the securities market, post-trade services and equity derivative products. Her scope entails market structure, product development and management to drive trading liquidity and product adoption. In addition, she manages key relationships with business and exchange partners to execute strategic and collaborative initiatives across the organisation.

2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies):

Janice’s career spans 30 years in the exchange industry, where she has held diverse portfolios across front and middle office roles at SGX. She started her career in the regulatory and risk-management functions, before stepping into key business roles to head strategy planning, product management and development in several asset classes.

As a senior member of SGX, Janice leads with inspiration and passion with her broad and deep domain knowledge of exchange infrastructure and financial markets. She is a people developer and builds a culture of high performance. A strong advocate for talent diversity and management, Janice actively provides mentorship and coaching to her younger colleagues and has been a role model for women in finance.

As head of markets, Janice is at the front seat of innovation, developing the market ecosystem and curating the product shelf to effectively serve global clients in their trading, investment and risk-management needs.

In her career, she has pioneered the SGX ETF platform, China Access products, NDF currency futures and offshore RMB clearing capabilities. Most notably, she is instrumental in building SGX’s award-winning, multi-asset derivatives business in equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities. She also oversaw market development and business strategy for the Greater China region, where SGX is the most international and liquid venue for offshore trading of Chinese assets.

In recent years, Janice extended her footprint in the fintech space, serving on the boards of an e-commerce commodities trading platform and a private markets exchange for the issuance, custody and trading of security tokens.

Currently a member of the Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF) Capital and Financial Markets Industry Workgroup, Janice’s extensive work experience has contributed positively to Singapore’s development as a hub for listed derivatives. She received the Fellow Award in Financial markets by IBF in 2021, recognising her professional competence, thought leadership and commitment to industry development.

Janice holds a master’s degree in applied finance from Macquarie University and attended the Stanford Executive Program. She is a certified financial risk manager by the Global Association of Risk Professionals.

3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2021 (ie why should you be on this list):

In 2020-2021, as exchanges around the world sought to define a “new normal” in a COVID world, SGX rose to the challenge of delivering unrivalled liquidity and efficiency through innovation. Despite the majority of the workforce operating remotely, I managed to work closely with my colleagues to help strengthen a culture of resilience and customer focus that ensured growth in liquidity, enhancements in investor access as well as innovation in new product solutions.

I am extremely grateful to be able to lead teams who work collaboratively with all stakeholders to innovate and successfully drive transformation in our marketplace in an extraordinary period of global change and uncertainty. In the process, SGX managed an index-license disruption and empowered clients to realise the synergies of the full equities continuum in one marketplace.

 In close consultation with partners, regulators and market participants, we transformed and rebuilt SGX’s equity derivatives product shelf. An unprecedented “liquidity switch” programme designed to seamlessly migrate open interest and trading activity between futures contracts of different underlying benchmarks achieved a 100% success rate, ensuring market certainty and continuity for SGX clients in Taiwan and Indonesia futures. This innovation would not have been possible without the trust and support of an ecosystem built over decades.

Another cross-border project that I led involved the co-creation of the GIFT Connect model in partnership with the NSE in India, to jointly bring Nifty trading on a combined liquidity pool in GIFT City while maintaining the clearing on SGX for international clients. This is a novel construct of mutual value proposition, as India equities are increasingly a key and growing allocation in global portfolios, and clients will continue to benefit from the network and portfolio effects of SGX being the hub for pan-Asian solutions.

The rapid response to the business challenges and the pandemic’s upheaval, as well as the accelerated market adoption of SGX products has demonstrated SGX’s capabilities as the most innovative pan-Asian derivatives marketplace. In 2021, SGX was recognised as the Derivatives Exchange of the Year by Asia Risk and Asia Pacific Derivatives Exchange of the Year by Global Capital.

I am also proud that the SGX ETF platform achieved significant milestones with combined assets under management surpassing S$10 billion in 2021, led by strong retail and institutional flows for passive investing. Several landmark products were ideated together with issuers, including the WGBI Chinese Government Bond ETF, the Asia Pacific green REIT ETF as well as homegrown leverage and inverse ETFs. Investor access was further facilitated with active retail distribution pivoting to digital platforms offering robo advisory services and efficient dollar-cost averaging solutions.

4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success:

As a single parent, my father was inspirational in my formative years, instilling high discipline and a strong conviction in the areas I pursued. He was a self-starter who demonstrated resourcefulness and versatility in pursuing a fulfilling career, even though he had little formal education. Through him, I learned the importance of having a deep sense of purpose, the courage to challenge the status quo, and resilience in the face of adversity. These teachings enabled me to follow my dreams and persevere to achieve professional success.

5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions:

I believe the pursuit of excellence begins with a growth mindset and the path to leadership is a long game. Value a diversity of thoughts, exhibit humility and stay passionate in your purpose. Most importantly, believe in yourself, enjoy the journey and seize the opportunities.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.