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HSBC exec: To sustain growth, stay the course

By: - Reporter / @daxinq
/ 12:07 AM March 13, 2017

The Philippines stands to benefit further from investment inflows —to sustain its current status as one of the fastest growing economies in the world—if government and private sector leaders can keep its focus on improving local infrastructure and maintaining policy stability.

Thus said a ranking HSBC official who pointed out that the country should also harness the strengths of a unified Asean market which could help the region compete toe to toe with global powerhouse China for the attention of foreign investors.

“There is recognition [abroad] that the track record [of the Philippine government] is building. And that’s where we need to do more,” Harish Venkatesan, regional head for international subsidiaries of the UK-based banking giant.

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“The country needs to strengthen its track record in executing projects, and bring about certainty and consistency in terms of policy implementation,” he said in an interview with the Inquirer.

Last Friday, Venkatesan spoke before government and business leaders during the Asean-EU Business Summit at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City. During his talk, the banker stressed the emerging opportunities in a region with more than 500 million citizens.
This same potential can be found in the Philippines because of its demographics which are attractive to foreign investors and conducive to economic growth.

“I’ve heard a lot of positive things about what’s happening in the Philippines,” Venkatesan said. “From where we sit, we look at the Philippines with its 100 million plus population, very good demographics, a lot of young people—I read that close to 60 percent are less than 34 years old—obviously, we expect a lot more consumption.”

Venkatesan said his role in HSBC included advising multinational clients about the local conditions of markets they wanted to penetrate. In the case of the Philippines, he said the rising affluence of its population will also mean increased demand for financial services like savings accounts, insurance policies and asset management.

HSBC is keen on leveraging its “deep local knowledge” of the Philippines and other Asean countries to bring in more investors and facilitate trade within the 10-country regional bloc and the rest of the world.

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TAGS: Asean market, Business, HSBC
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