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Cloud computing — cloudy no more

IT WAS in 2007 when I started to talk about cloud computing in public fora, company and client meetings, and articles in newspapers. It was too early during that time. I remember presenting its concepts during a management committee meeting in a global IT services company, and I either got blank stares or jokes about cloud. One executive asked, “So what is cloud?” I said, “Cloud is what you want it to be — software, hardware, security, etc.”

Bullish on Philippine stocks

2019, the Year of the Earth Pig, will be a year of abundance and positive vibes according to Oriental astrology. Its immediate predecessor was 1959, when the Philippine post-war economy was flourishing under then President Carlos P. Garcia, who pursued the “Filipino First” policy. Like 1959, 2019 is also a midterm election year in the country.

Digital transformation trends in 2019 and beyond

THE year 2018 has been marked by disruptions in the global market, evidenced by the growth of e-commerce platforms, fintechs, and start-ups that shake up traditional industries and businesses, especially the retail sector. Toys “R” Us closed its US stores in March, Nine West filed for bankruptcy in April, Sears, once the largest retailer in the world, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on October, and a host of others. An all-time high of 16 US retailers have filed for bankruptcy or announced liquidations so far in 2018.

Fifty shades of FINEX

1968 has been portrayed in many publications as the most turbulent year in the 20th century that rocked the very foundations of Planet Earth. It was the year when world history seemed to change daily — with the tumultuous 1960s reaching a political and cultural boiling point in dramatic, game-changing fashion.

Food safety

MY BROTHER Bong has just returned from the USA and immediately he made sure he had a fill of the many Filipino food that he has missed. After just a few weeks, he complained of stomach sickness which led to a discussion on comparative food safety practices.

Achieving unity through hoops

WHAT a glorious ending this week for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81 men’s basketball tournament that drew record crowds during its last two games at Mall of Asia Arena and Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Accolades for achievers in finance

FOR MORE than a decade, the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) has been giving due recognition to outstanding achievements in the financial sector. These awards are doubly significant this year, since 2018 is the golden anniversary of the country’s premier professional organization for finance practitioners.

Addressing disaster and climate risk in the financial system

ANOTHER storm is coming our way. Fortunately, we seemed to have learned our lessons as government leads the way in taking the necessary steps to be ready for whatever the typhoon will bring about. Allow me to share the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) journey in disaster and climate risk management as one of the government financial institutions (GFI) in the country.

Chief Future Officer: A strong, stable leader amid disruption

SOME say the “CFO” of today now stands for “Chief Future Officer.” And perhaps rightfully so. The title perfectly encapsulates how the role of the modern CFO has evolved over the years — from being a bean counter, number cruncher, or tax filer, to a multi-tasker able to navigate disruptions, drive business decisions, and prepare the organization for growth.

Money and our faith

ACCORDING to Greg Laurie, money is a very important topic in the bible. It is the subject of nearly half of the parables of Jesus Christ. It is covered in one out of every seven verses in the New Testament. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, fewer than 500 verses on faith and more than 2000 verses on money. And 15% of everything Jesus taught was on the topic of money and possessions — more than his teachings on heaven and hell combined.

Ethics: Black, White (or Gray)?

IN celebration of the Golden Jubilee Year of Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, FINEX launched an ethics book entitled Ethics: Black White (or Gray)? which gathered essays and actual cases from 50 well-known personalities from the government, banking and private sectors.

Can entrepreneurship be taught and learned?

THE start-up scene all over the world is still flourishing. In the Philippines, there are currently more than 300 start-ups in the country and over 200 of them are actively operating, according to the first study profiling the Philippine start-up ecosystem by PwC Philippines and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Corporate governance in a family-owned corporation

AT THE BAIPHIL 3rd General Membership Meeting, corporate governance “guru” and guest speaker Dr. Jesus Estanislao emphasized that governance demands a focus on the long-term, realizing a great “vision” in five to ten years. Governance demands a focus on the institution and what the institution should become. Yes, people are very important, but cautioned against personalities. He said governance asks for a strategy, a set of priorities pursued across all the different facets of any business. The key focus is on priorities which must be inter-connected and mutually supportive.

Oil versus rice

LIKE the proverbial oil and water, oil and rice shouldn’t mix as it will spell disaster. Increasing prices of oil and rice in the world and local markets, respectively, have hit the Philippines hard which caused the prices of goods to climb.

Ethics, integrity and good sleep

ETHICS is defined as “the discipline concerned with what is morally good or bad, right or wrong, black or white.” It is the moral principle that govern a person’s behavior based on his values, conscience. We all like to be ethical, known to have integrity and be trustworthy. Who wouldn’t? Ethics is important so that what you say is believed in and is credible. When you say something or promise, do people, even your children or grandchildren, believe you, or take it with a grain of salt? Do you always tell the truth and deliver on what you promise? A good standard is “under promise and over deliver“ especially when there are dependencies beyond your control. There is a general feeling that ethics, defined as black or white, right or wrong, is now getting to be blurry or sometimes gray.

Affirmative action

THE magazine The Economist recently conducted a debate series on “affirmative action.” Readers will find lessons from the debate considering the many policy choices being made in the Philippines today. The concerns on both sides of the issue “should affirmative action be scrapped?” are instructive and can be put to good use.

Embodying the CFO of Industry 4.0

GONE are the days when the chief financial officer (CFO) was the glorified controller who makes sure the books are right and the treasury is in robust health. In recent years, the role is increasingly being redefined in order for companies around the world to survive and stay sustainable in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Human resources development and sustainability

ACCORDING to the United Nations Environment Programme-Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), a sustainable bank is one that not only understands and manages the risks that arise because of sustainability issues, but also perceives the strategic dimension of these issues. This means thinking ahead about business implications and opportunities brought about by the increasingly pervasive environmental, social and developmental challenges of our time. Sustainability encompasses the business role in balancing environmental and social (human rights and labor) issues with economic issues. And sustainable development is defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs.

Greening money

THE business of making money ‘green’ is beginning to flourish. One just needs to look at recent numbers to see the growing business opportunity.

Tech-propelled growth

SEATTLE — This city is the largest in the state of Washington and the entire Pacific Northwest region of North America. Its metropolitan area encompasses the state’s eight most populous counties, officially defined by the US Census Bureau as the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia combined statistical area that is home to two-thirds of Washington’s population.

Financial independence

THERE is an impassioned, mostly millennial community that I accidentally discovered online. This is the FIRE community, an acronym for “financial independence, retire early.” As the acronym suggests, the goal of this movement is to gain financial independence, and this means getting away from reliance on paid employment to keep going and retiring early from corporate bondage.

Green financing

What is green finance? Green finance is the financing of investment that encourage the development of a more sustainable economy. Green finance also refers to financial support for green growth. What is green growth? It is promoting economic growth and development while safeguarding the use of natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Silo mentality

“Employees in my company are working in silos.” This is a common issue raised by business leaders when asked why their companies are not innovating.


No one is safe from cyber attacks nowadays. The frequency and the leveling up in terms of sophistication are rising. In fact, it’s no longer a question if your system will be hacked but more on when it will be hacked. The important thing is, how soon do you know that your company system has been hacked? Is your company prepared?

Let the magic begin

They are some of the biggest success stories today: Tony Tan Caktiong, the poor boy from China whose small ice cream franchise turned into Jollibee, the world’s fast-rising fastfood superstar; Injap Sia II, self-made billionaire before he turned 40, courtesy of a fastfood chicken barbecue chain called Mang Inasal; and Dennis Uy, another young tycoon from Davao City who is building a vast empire out of Phoenix Petroleum and a diverse range of shipping, logistics, and real estate ventures.

From wishbone to backbone

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are often called the “backbone of the economy.” After all, they comprised 99.57% of all Philippine establishments as of 2016 and accounted for 25% of the country’s total exports revenue, according to the Department of Trade and Industry.

Creativity — talent or skill?

THE debate on whether artificial intelligence (AI) will replace human jobs or not is heating up. While the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that five million jobs will be lost by 2020 because of automation, other experts prognosticate that more jobs will be created than destroyed.

Securing businesses in the digital age

Discussions about disruptive technology and digital transformation have lately been dominating the conversations inside corporate boardrooms and among the C-suites in private companies, spilling over to some government agencies and non-government organizations.

Robotics is now here

PNB’s Human Resource Head Bong Austero recently arranged a Robotics workshop attended by PNB’s Board and Senior Management Team. Yes, you read it correctly: robotics! We assembled our own robots and programmed them to move in a specific way. It was challenging at first as we familiarized ourselves with programming language, but once we moved to the testing stage when we checked if our robots were moving in the way we wanted them to, it became fun.

Cooperate, coordinate, collaborate

“Cooperate, coordinate, and collaborate” — this is the call of President Duterte to small nations to implement to attain prosperity for all, during the...

Linking economies for inclusive development

The Philippines is currently hosting the 51st Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors from May 3 to 6 at...

Understanding development models

Development is generally defined as progress, a change from one state to a better state. Not all change will qualify as development. The change...

Future-proofing Philippines, Inc.

‘Tis the season for job hunting again, so expect the number of job seekers to swell once more. More so this year, as the...

Reassessing our landscape

With 2018’s first quarter over, Ricky Cebrero, PNB Treasury Head gave an assessment of what may be in store and strengthened our insights on...

Tech businesses powering Asia-Pacific growth

London’s venerable Financial Times (FT) recently released its first-ever “FT 1000 High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific” list -- with 26 Filipino firms making the grade, all...

Digital-ready leadership skills

The fusion of different technologies in the digital, physical and biological spheres is disrupting businesses and organizations the world over. Commonly referred to these...

Shattering the glass ceiling playbook for women

It’s International Women’s Month and so I’m reminded about this old joke in the audit profession that brings out the issue of gender stereotypes....

Mandated lending concerns

Nestor V. Tan, BDO Unibank, Inc. president, gave a very incisive talk to the FINEX general membership recently on the state of the banking...

Creating new value in financial services

SINGAPORE -- A new era has dawned on the financial services industry. With continued acceleration of the Digital Age, the industry needs to find...

Sustainable business: transcending CSR theaters

Recent developments across the globe have tested companies in a number of ways. Corporate citizenship, philanthropy and social innovation have been swiftly thrust into...

Dr. Jose Pardo – Just Think Positive!

Last Saturday Jose “Titoy” Pardo, PSE Chairman and former Secretary of Trade/Finance was conferred the Degree of Doctor of Science in Finance by De...

Fintech hub in Asia’s Silicon Valley

The emergence of financial technology or “fintech” in modern business jargon dates back to 1993. That was during the time New York-headquartered Citicorp, the...

Toward a sustainable future

The Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) kicked off its 50th anniversary celebration with a Golden Jubilee gala night last Jan. 15 at...

Rise of behavioral science

“Human behavior is going to be at the center of the massive shift that we’re witnessing globally today.” This is my quick reply to...

Golden FINEX rising

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...