Richard Teng

Who is Richard Teng?

Richard Teng is the current chief executive officer (CEO) of Binance – the world’s largest crypto exchange by trade volume. 

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Teng succeeded Binance co-founder Changpeng Zhao (commonly referred to as CZ) as the CEO of the company in November 2023, after CZ was forced to resign from the top job as a part of an anti-money laundering charge settlement with the US government.

Early Life and Education

Teng was born in Singapore in 1971. He studied accountancy at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, between 1991 and 1994.

Later, he got his Master’s degree in applied finance from the University of Western Australia in 1998. In 2004, he enrolled in a one-year executive leadership program at The Wharton School, Pennsylvania, USA.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Teng began his career at The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) -– Singapore’s central bank and integrated financial regulator. He worked at MAS for over a decade, rising to the position of Director of Corporate Finance.

Richard Teng’s Career Path

Teng has experience working in the traditional finance and regulatory sectors, which is a big advantage for a crypto company like Binance in dealing with market regulators across the world.

After his stint at the MAS, Teng joined the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in 2007, where he spent over seven years. He held the position of Chief Regulatory Officer at the stock exchange. At SGX, he held several other titles, including Senior Vice President, Head of Issuer Regulation, and Chief of Staff for Risk Management and Regulation.

Teng left SGX in 2015 to join an international financial center called Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) as its CEO. He was responsible for overseeing the development and administration of the financial services regulatory and supervisory framework of ADGM.

In August 2021, Teng joined Binance to head the crypto exchange’s operations in Singapore. Within five months, Teng was promoted to become Regional Head of Binance’s operations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). By April 2023, Teng was in charge of overseeing Binance’s operations in Asia, Europe, and MENA. 

Later in May 2023, Teng became the Head of Regional Markets at Binance. On 21 November 2023, Teng was appointed as the CEO of Binance, just over two years after joining the company.

How Richard Teng Became the CEO of Binance?

On 21 November 2023, the crypto world woke up to a shocking announcement that CZ was stepping down as the CEO of the company that he co-founded in July 2017.

During CZ’s reign, Binance grew to become the world’s largest crypto exchange by trade volume, ahead of rivals Coinbase and Kraken.

CZ’s resignation was part of a $4.3 billion settlement to resolve the US Department of the Treasury’s investigation related to anti-money laundering violations filed against Binance and CZ.

In a statement, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen said that Binance “turned a blind eye to its legal obligations in the pursuit of profit” and “allowed money to flow to terrorists, cybercriminals, and child abusers through its platform.”

The $4.3 billion settlement agreed by Binance is the largest settlement in the US Treasury’s history. Separately, CZ was fined $50 million to settle the investigation.

Reactions to Richard Teng’s Appointment as Binance CEO

“Richard is a highly qualified leader, and with over three decades of financial services and regulatory experience, he will navigate the company through its next period of growth. He will ensure Binance delivers on our next phase of security, transparency, compliance, and growth.” – CZ

“Richard’s experience in the traditional financial industry and financial regulation will guide us through this challenging period, helping us to go from 160 million users to one billion users.” – Yi He, co-founder of Binance via The Wall Street Journal

“Teng’s appointment as CEO reflects more than a change in leadership; it symbolizes Binance’s shift towards a more regulated and compliant future.” – CoinDesk

“While Teng’s ascension to CEO has been in the works for months, the task ahead of him is enormous and would tax even the most seasoned senior executive. In the coming days, he must reinvent a corporate culture that has long been defined by Zhao—a charismatic outlaw, known universally as CZ, who delighted in trolling regulators and his critics with defiant social media posts.” – Fortune

What Next for Binance and Richard Teng?

Teng came into the helm at Binance at probably the most difficult period in the company’s history. Although Binance has managed to settle with several US agencies, including the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), it now has to pay a hefty $4.3 billion fine which will curtail its growth plans.

Teng and Binance now face a legal battle against the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In June 2023, the US SEC charged Binance with operating an unregistered securities exchange and commingling with customer funds, among other allegations. 

The SEC vs Binance lawsuit is expected to extend well into 2024.

Teng, after being appointed, tweeted that his immediate focus will be on reassuring Binance users of the company’s safety and security. He also stated that Binance will collaborate with regulators to provide consumer protection.

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Mensholong Lepcha

Mensholong Lepcha is a financial journalist specializing in cryptocurrencies and global equity markets. He has worked for reputed firms such as Reuters and Capital.com. Fascinated with blockchain technology, NFTs, and the contrarian school of investing, Mensholong has expertise in analyzing tokenomics, price movement, and technical details of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain networks. He has also written articles on a wide range of financial topics including commodities, forex, central bank monetary policies, and other economic news.