Over the past decades, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has taken various initiatives in its bid to become a premier exchange with world-class standards for trading securities and raising capital. It has marked remarkable progress from expanding its range of products up to ensuring the efficiency of its operations. At present, the local exchange is set to continue attaining its vision and to record new trading history in its brand new home in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig City.

For the first time in almost 55 years, the PSE — which formerly had two separate trading floors located at the PSE Plaza Ayala Triangle, Ayala Tower One in Makati City, and PSE Centre in Tektite Towers in Pasig City — finally opened a unified trading floor under one roof on Feb. 19.

Dubbed as the PSE Tower, the PSE’s new office building is situated in a premium block along 28th Street corner 5th Avenue in BGC. The tower stands 26-storeys high with a gross leasable area of 30,000 square meters (sq.m.) and is part of Ayala Land Premier’s mixed-use development, One Bonifacio High Street, which also includes The Suites and Ayala Malls.

The PSE Tower — with an estimated construction cost of P3.5 billion — was designed by US-based architectural firm Handel Architects who’s also behind the artistry of Shangri-La at the Fort. The building has a full-glass façade that features an external ticker board which displays real-time stock prices and market data.

“The Stock Exchange Tower presents an inflected glazed ‘frontpiece’ to the main commercial avenue with a vertical spine expressed with deep vertical ribs for solar control,” Handel Architects described the tower in its Web site.

The materials and massing of the tower are intended to be complementary to the Shangri-La. The two buildings are connected by interior courts that create the effect of a multi-level urban plaza flanking a shared pedestrian retail corridor.

Upon walking inside the new PSE’s office building, traders are greeted in a grand, high-ceiling entrance lobby with dedicated elevators leading to the stock exchange and an amenity floor for conference rooms and business lounges. The new trading floor has a predominantly white and well-lit interior, equipped with monitors that display stock prices.

Aside from the retail shops in the mezzanine and ground floors, the PSE Tower will also house a museum which will feature various mementos to showcase the rich history of PSE and its predecessor bourses. The PSE is considered as one of the oldest stock exchanges in Asia, having been in operation since 1927 when the Manila Stock Exchange, Inc. (MSE) was established.

During the bell-ringing program held to mark the PSE’s relocation to BGC, PSE Chairman Jose T. Pardo said that the unification of bourses under one roof marks a new history.

Although the PSE’s journey towards having its new home took years to materialize, it turned out to be something worth waiting for, he said.

The plan to establish the PSE’s single headquarters in BGC started when the local bourse closed a deal with Ayala Land, Inc. for the purchase of new office spaces in 2012.

To signal the official start of the trading in its new headquarters — which interestingly timed on the first day of the new Lunar Year of the Dog — two bells from the PSE’s previous trading floors were rang which symbolized the unification of the two exchanges.

“For the first time, traders from the old Manila Stock Exchange and the old Makati Stock Exchange now share one trading floor. What [a] better place to witness this unification and to pursue our aspirations to become a world-class exchange than here at the world-class Bonifacio Global City, one of the most modern and progressive places in the country,” Mr. Pardo said.

Present during the opening ceremony were PSE directors Emmanuel O. Bautista, Eddie T. Gobing, Amor C. Iliscupidez, Edgardo G. Lacson, Wilson L. Sy, Alejandro T. Yu, and Vivian Yuchengco, PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon, PSE Chief Operating Officer Roel A. Refran, and PSE Corporate Secretary Aissa V. Encarnacion. The ceremony was graced by Taguig City Mayor Lani L. Cayetano.

Prior to the move, the PSE had separate ceremonial closing bell ringing events at its Ayala and Tektite towers to mark the last time that the trading bell was rang in both locations.

During the ceremony at the Ayala trading floor, Mr. Pardo said, “As we move to our new office at the Bonifacio Global City, we shall embark on recording new history for the stock market and for our country.”

The former PSE offices in Pasig were sold back to its developer, Philippine Realty and Holdings, Corp. Meanwhile, the PSE is still undecided on what to do with the offices it left in Makati.

“The move is symbolic of a move towards a united capital market,” PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona, was quoted as saying in a BusinessWorld article on Feb. 19. “After the unification of the trading floors, the next step would be for PSE to complete its acquisition of the PDS group which would result in a one-stop market for various financial assets.” — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino