Hong Kong-based The Asset financial magazine, in association with the Fund Managers Association of the Philippines (FMAP), recently hosted its annual Philippine Forum at Hotel Intercontinental Manila.
Held at the heels of the Philippines’ receiving its latest investment grade rating, the forum focused on the theme “Tracking infrastructure support for the capital market”, addressing the critical role infrastructure plays to ensure sustained growth of capital markets.
Two panel discussions offered a comprehensive dialogue from senior members of leading institutions, focusing on public-private sector partnerships and expanding the capital market. Participants discussed the state of current infrastructure projects and capital market developments, while addressing future needs.
Citi Philippines CEO Batara Sianturi led the panel discussion on expanding the capital market, diving into the effects of the recent round of investment rating upgrades and the challenges the new status poses on Philippine institutions. He was joined by BDO Chief Investment Officer Marvin Fausto, BPI Asset Management and Trust Group Head Maria Teresa Javier, ATR KimEng Asset Management President and Director Michael Ferrer, and Securities and Exchange Commission Director of Corporate Finance Justina Callangan.
The discussion touched on sustaining continuous development for the Philippines amidst the changing financial environment in Asia and beyond. The panelists noted the importance of providing the right investment products to investors, discussing the introduction of exchange traded funds or ETFs, and how foreign markets bring more competition. The consensus is that industry-wide initiatives need to be made to sustain capital markets growth. Both Fausto and Javier agreed on the importance of education for investors. Investors, they said, have to understand their needs and risk appetites, and make informed decisions on financial products. This in turn, challenges institutions to provide efficient investment instruments.
The panelists were also optimistic with the rising level of personal finance awareness in the country, but agree that more work needs to be done. Sianturi closed the session, addressing the need for institutions to become more competitive and alert to the market. “Market timing is critical.” he says, “The markets will not wait.”