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Biz Buzz: From ‘KYC’ to ‘KYR’

/ 12:28 AM June 01, 2016

Remember how curious citizens deposited over the counter small sums to Davao City Mayor (and now incoming president) Rodrigo Duterte’s bank account in Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to prove whether such account existed? The presidential elections happened not too long ago but it seems that BPI has since promptly tightened the rules to weed out anonymous depositors.

Apart from the usual deposit form that one will fill up, if you are depositing money for someone else, BPI now has a separate “client’s representative form” that requires the disclosure of the full name, contact number and address of the person making the deposit.  Previously, the bank teller would only care about whether the bank account receiving the deposit and the amount indicated in the form were accurate. Now, apart from knowing their client, they have to know their “representatives” as well.

So from KYC (know your customer) policies, the banking industry may soon have to adopt “KYR” (know your representative) measure as well.

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Whether or not this new policy was triggered by Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ pre-election expose that put BPI in the limelight, this now creates a paper trail for such deposits, whether or not made with the consent of the depositor. We won’t be surprised to see other banks following suit, if they haven’t yet.

On one hand, the new disclosure policy may also be a future deterrent to smurfing, or money laundering by means of breaking up transactions into multiples of smaller transactions to circumvent the ceiling by which they would be reported to money-laundering authorities.

Meanwhile, the seven-day allowance requested by BPI to disclose Duterte’s bank account details had long lapsed but we still haven’t seen any update on it. Since elections are over and the unorthodox mayor has received a popular mandate, it seems that nobody is eager to find out anymore.  Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

New RCBC treasurer

AFTER naming a new president, Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) has enlisted an investment banker who had spent most of his professional career overseas as its new treasurer.

Chester Luy was appointed RCBC’s new treasurer/senior executive vice president and head of treasury group, taking over the position vacated by Raul Tan, who quit even as he was cleared of any wrongdoing during the probe on the $81-million money laundering scandal. His appointment will take effect on June 27.

Before joining RCBC, Luy had worked as managing director at Bank of Singapore. Luy had previously worked for other big institutions like Barclays Capital, HSBC Securities, JP Morgan Chase, Julius Baer and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of the Philippines and his MBA from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University. In 2000, he received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

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Meanwhile, veteran banker Gil Buenaventura, who heads state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), will become RCBC’s new president and chief executive effective July 1. This coincides with the first day in office of President-elect Rodrido Duterte, who may have named a new DBP president by then.  Doris Dumlao-Abadilla

Liberty’s fate

FILIPINOS hoping for better Internet services with San Miguel Corp.’s now abandoned plan to enter the telecommunications business are not the only ones anxious about the recent turn of events that saw giants PLDT and Globe Telecom take over the diversified conglomerate’s mobile telephony assets.

Longtime shareholders of publicly listed Liberty Telecom Holdings Inc. are also wondering about their fate, given that both PLDT and Globe have been eerily silent about the firm used by SMC as its vehicle for its struggling consumer Internet business, Wi-Tribe.

Liberty Telecom is owned by SMC’s Vega Telecom Inc., which will also be acquired by the telecom duopoly. But when the deal was announced, only the share prices of PLDT, Globe and SMC rose. Liberty’s shares—though admittedly lightly traded—opened higher last Monday, but was almost immediately sold down when the deal was announced (a classic “sell on news” strategy).

And although stockbrokers were immediately in-the-know about the fate of a certain stock involved in a merger or acquisition deal, as of Tuesday, almost no one knew exactly what would happen to Liberty Telecom or its minority shareholders.

But no worries. Biz Buzz asked around the grapevines of the three major parties involved in the telco industry shakeup deal—PLDT, Globe and SMC—and here’s what we found out: The buyers of the listed firm (by virtue of having bought its parent firm) will decide on what to do with the company and the owners of its stocks. The emerging consensus is that they will have to make a tender offer to minority shareholders, basically offering to acquire all “loose” stocks from them.

Stockholders looking for greater clarity can examine Globe’s acquisition of Bayan Telecommunications Inc. last year where the former assumed responsibility for the substantial debts of the latter (as well as buying out other debtors) and eventually converted them into equity. If this pushes through, stockholders who have been hoping for a Liberty payout may finally get the windfall they deserve.  Daxim L. Lucas

‘Not interested’

BILLIONAIRE party-list representative Mikee Romero is not looking to get any positions in the 17th Congress.

In a letter to the Inquirer, Romero, who is embroiled in a messy legal and public brawl over the port business founded by his father Reghis Romero, said: “(I have) no intention of seeking any committee chairmanship or speakership/deputy speakership in the House of Representatives.”

Contrary to “allusions” in a Biz Buzz article that he wasted no time in holding almost daily meetings with future co-members in Batasan to create his own bloc and get positions in the next Congress, Romero claimed that these meetings “were part and parcel of the active participation of our party-list in supporting (President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s) legislative agenda.”

Romero, who gave out free copies of Forbes magazine that featured his vast wealth, pointed out that his  party-list , 1-Pacman, earned the “vote of confidence” of close to 1.4 million voters, which made it the third highest vote-getter in the election.

The billionaire’s party-list won two seats reserved for the marginalized sector in the House largely on the back of a huge campaign spending, which some pundits claimed was comparable to somebody running for senator or President even.

“I take exception to insinuations in the article referring to [my] supposed personal interests in the activities with the members of the House, which, to say the least, are baseless and appears to have been written in bad faith,” said Romero.

Romero also requested the Inquirer to “support the call for unity and to refrain from publishing articles that may only sow disunity and intrigue.”  Gil Cabacungan

E-mail us at bizbuzz@inquirer.com.ph. Get business alerts and a preview of Biz Buzz the evening before it comes out. Text ON INQ BUSINESS to 4467 (P2.50/alert).

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TAGS: Bank of the Philippine Islands, BPI, Business, economy, know your representative, know-your-customer, KYC, KYR, News, Rodrigo Duterte
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