1968 was the year that changed the world, according to Time magazine. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. and US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy were assassinated. A youth rebellion paralyzed France and students took over Columbia University in New York. Czechoslovakia tasted freedom for a brief moment in the Prague Spring; Mexico City hosted the Olympics; and the Tet Offensive became the turning point of the Vietnam War.
“It was the year of sex and drugs and rock and roll,” wrote American journalist Mark Kurlansky in his book titled 1968: The Year that Rocked the World. Baby boomers remember it as the most revolutionary year in the second half of the 20th century. Mr. Kurlansky further said: “1968 was the epicenter of a shift, of a fundamental change, the birth of our postmodern media-driven world.”
In the Philippines, then President Ferdinand Marcos announced plans to seek reelection, while Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. exposed the Jabidah Massacre. Congress passed a bill calling for the annexation of Sabah, prompting Kuala Lumpur to suspend diplomatic relations with Manila. First Lady Imelda Marcos started building her pet project, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and Senator Sergio Osmeña, Jr. challenged her husband for the presidency.
Meanwhile, a group of young accountants and controllers led by Arsenic Vistro formed the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX). The Securities and Exchange Commission approved the corporate registration of FINEX on Jan. 15, 1968 with 12 incorporators, including Mr. Vistro who was elected Charter President. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to 2018. FINEX will hold its Golden Jubilee gala night at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Hotel on Jan. 15, with US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim and Metro Pacific Group Chair Manuel V. Pangilinan as guests of honor.
2018 FINEX President Maria Victoria Españo and her board of directors will have their induction ceremony at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City on Jan. 18, kicking off with the theme “Transform for a Sustainable Future. Today.”
Let’s hear it from Ms. Españo: “2018 heralds for us an important milestone as we celebrate 50 years of remarkable history. Led by noteworthy finance leaders, FINEX has successfully supported the development of finance professionals and helped shape the Philippine economy through the active role it has played in the consideration of reforms in financial policies, capital markets, and taxation, among others.”
The 2018 board of directors and officers have many fresh ideas for this year, expressing their confidence that they will continue to deal with the ever-changing market, technological innovations, global restructuring of policies and developmental practices — dynamic challenges in the horizon which they must mutually and collaboratively integrate into our transformation.
Ten years ago, when FINEX marked its 40th anniversary, we came up with a fearless forecast for the premier finance organization in 2018:
• CFOs transforming into CEOs would be the predominant career path among FINEX members;
• Inter-Collegiate Finance Competition will go global with elimination rounds in five continents;
• ING-FINEX CFO of the Year Awards to expand throughout Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, and Middle East;
• FINEX Outstanding Finance Educator Awards would spread to other ASEAN member states;
• A state-of-the-art tower at Bonifacio Global City to house the offices of FINEX and its affiliate foundations;
• FINEX to provide a steady stream of officials in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Department of Finance, Bureau of the Treasury, and other government financial institutions;
• Advocacies on good governance, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, and environmental planning will be given greater emphasis.
Some of these predictions have come true, while several have remained wishful thinking. However, with capable leaders and dedicated members charting the course of FINEX in the long term, we foresee the fulfillment of the incoming board’s dream that “we shall achieve beyond what we had in our first 50 years.”
J. Albert Gamboa is Chief Financial Officer of the Asian Center for Legal Excellence and serves as Co-Chairman of the FINEX Media Affairs Committee.