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About Ascendant

Find out what makes Ascendant a trusted partner for your business.

At Ascendant, it's about the people.

Ascendant has been in business since 2011. Our success is attributed to our ability to successfully marry the world of technology with international payments. Our business is backed by over 250 years of combined experience in foreign exchange and international payments.  We strive to establish a partnership and a long lasting relationship with you and your company. Along with protecting your bottom line we are committed to customer service. As your business grows, we wish to be a part of your growth.

Gain from the experience of our management team

Jason Mugford

Jason Mugford

BA (Honors) – President & Chief Executive Officer

Jason brings more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. Until his departure, Jason held the position of Vice President, Global Corporate Development at Custom House Ltd, which was acquired by Western Union in September 2009. Jason specializes in business development and led marketing, communications, product development, partnerships and mergers and acquisitions for Custom House globally. He initially developed sales and marketing strategies as well as operational management policies and processes for successful entry of Custom House in the US market and was instrumental in the on-boarding of sales and operational teams in international markets. In addition, Jason led the consumer payments call center and operational services that supported the on-line channel. His expertise with advanced technology and commitment to customer-driven products has allowed him to play an instrumental role in the development and global implementation of Custom House’s online foreign exchange services.

Jason’s financial services career includes positions at Thomas Cook where he rapidly advanced to become, in succession, North American Trading Manager, North American online Product Champion and Global Online Director. He was responsible for identifying, defining and overseeing overall product strategy and development for achieving sustained online business growth and product profitability.

As a key member of the global marketing team and the primary owner of Thomas Cook’s financial services web site and e-commerce channel strategy, Jason received the British Telecom innovation in E-Business Award, and the Hitachi innovation in E-Commerce in the Financial Sector Award.

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Bernard Beck

Bernard Beck

BA, MBA, CFE – EVP, Chief Compliance Officer

Bernard has over 25 years of experience in legal and regulatory compliance overseeing financial propriety. He is responsible for ensuring that the company and its employees meet and exceed the industry’s legal and compliance requirements in every jurisdiction of operation. Until his departure in December 2009 as SVP, Chief Compliance Officer at Custom House Ltd (Western Union Business Solutions) a high growth company that specialized in foreign exchange trading and commercial payments, Bernard directed a team of compliance professionals, business risk consultants and legal experts in the development and maintenance of processes and systems to manage business risk and for legal compliance globally. By overcoming barriers to entry, Bernard guided the company through stringent regulatory and financial services licensing requirements in the countries the company operated in. The compliance and risk programs contributed substantially to the success and growth of the company and its sale for $370m.

As VP, Director Forensic Investigations for Deloitte & Touche LLP, he built a successful forensic practice and developed and implemented an AML compliance service line for Canada. Retired from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1999, Bernard held a variety of positions from Operations leader of several international investigations of criminal organizations to unit Commander in Commercial Crime, directing major financial investigations of fraud, corruption, bribery, and enterprise crime. Bernard was instrumental in the implementation of the RCMP’s proceeds of crime program and consulted by Department of Justice in the development of new and revised laws.

Bernard has a BA in Political Science (major) & Economics (minor) from University of Alberta, and an MBA from Royals Roads University.

Bernard sits on the Board of Trustees for the Pacific Opera of Vancouver, Government House Foundation (Lt. Governor of BC), and Past President, Union Club of BC. He also holds the title of Chevalier in the Sovereign Order of St. John’s of Jerusalem, focused on helping the sick and poor.

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Iftikhar Ali

Chief Information and Security Officer

Iftikhar, a visionary and entrepreneur, with a rare techno-business blend, brings 16 years of Product Development, IT Operation and Infrastructure, Delivery, Governance, Risk & Compliance and Customer Engagement experience. Iftikhar’s rich background consists of extensive hands-on experience across a wide range of technologies, enterprise class product development and the management of a large- scale portfolio of applications. Iftikhar’s greatest asset is taking a practical approach to solving complex problems, which translates an IT spend into competitive advantage.

Until his departure from Western Union Business Solutions (formerly Travelex Global Business Payments), Iftikhar was Director, IT, North America. During his tenure, Iftikhar supported business initiatives serving Financial Institutions. Eventually, this had a significant influence in the valuation of TGBP at $1 Billon. His work drove Straight Through Processing initiatives to help improve operational efficiency, system integration and lead technology transformation and process maturity.

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Shemina Jiwani

Shemina Jiwani

B.Comm, MBA – Chief operating officer

Shemina brings over 15 years of international payment experience to Ascendant FX. Before joining Ascendant FX, Shemina held the position of Director of Business Development for Custom House Global Foreign Exchange. In this role, she led global marketing and business development initiatives for Custom House, including the onboarding of strategic global customers and evaluating and implementing partner and acquisition opportunities. When she initially joined Custom House, she was responsible for determining the marketing and sales initiatives that were essential for growth of the American market as well as outlining various operational procedures to increase capacity for the business. As the Business Development role increased, in addition to the sales and marketing efforts, Shemina was also directly involved with the development of Custom House’s proprietary online trading systems for both businesses and individuals; ultimately being responsible for managing the sales and operational call centre for the consumer online business.

Shemina started in the industry as a Corporate Dealer at Thomas Cook Global Financial Services where she managed a portfolio of over 5 million in revenue within the Financial Institution segment.

Shemina has also spent five years owning and operating her own hotel development located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and her MBA from Queens University.

In 2018, Shemina was named as part of Money 20/20's Rise Up cohort. She also currently sits on the Payments Canada Advisory Council and the board of Special Olympics Ontario. 

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Jeanne cropped

Jeanne Millis


Jeanne has over 30 years of experience in accounting, tax, IT, and regulation. In addition to being a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) she holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy and a MA in Mathematics. Jeanne’s notable career includes experience in a variety of industries, associations, and charities which give her a unique perspective on the work of Ascendant, and that of our clients.

Jeanne spent a large part of her career working for consultancy firm BDO as a Client Service Partner, assisting clients with various projects including audits, taxes, assisting with IT needs, and aiding in the education and training of staff. She eventually found her way to Ascendant in 2017 where, with a foot both in finance and in compliance, she leads Finance and Regulatory Compliance team, ensuring that Ascendant remains fiscally responsible and regulatorily compliant.

Along with overseeing the multitude of audits Ascendant is frequently subject to as a financial service company, Jeanne leads HR and is a champion of employee well-being and promotion. In addition to her professional work, Jeanne has spent her career devoted to community leadership, so much so that it would be challenging to list all of her accomplishments. Some highlights include working to open women’s shelters in her community, holding the position of Director for the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce, the Brandon and Area Community Foundation, the Brandon YMCA, and decades as a member of the Thomas Sill Foundation. Jeanne was recognized for her community leadership in Brandon, Manitoba with the 2015 Brandon Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Business Builder Award.

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Board of Directors

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