Has President Duterte made his choice for the country’s next central bank governor? He might have.
Remember that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told the press that the Chief Executive would be named in three to four weeks? That statement was made in late March, so the indicated timeframe coincides with the current week.
Of course, it would be a good time to make an important announcement like appointing a new Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor to replace the widely respected and outgoing Amando Tetangco Jr. because the eyes of the international community are on the Philippines as the country hosts the Asean Summit this week.
But who among the four shortlisted candidates—two BSP deputy governors, a former trade secretary and Monetary board member, and a commercial banker—enjoy the President’s favor?
If our sources are correct, the President supposedly has had one-on-one face time with only one of the candidates, to date. This could indicate that this person is now the governor-in-waiting, so to speak.
Who’s the lucky guy? Well, let’s just say that, if one were to make a campaign slogan out of the President’s choice, one may very well be able to abbreviate it as “D4D” or “Duterte for D…” <wink> —DAXIM L. LUCAS
For those wondering why the SM group acquired the controlling stake in the chain of dormitory buildings under the “MyTown” brand using parent conglomerate SM Investments Corp. than property development arm SM Prime Holdings Inc., it’s because the group is still testing the waters in the dormitory space.
SMIC chief finance officer Jose Sio yesterday said that in the future, it was an option for the group to fold in “MyTown” into SM Prime if the business could be proven viable.
SMIC recently completed the purchase of a 61.2-percent stake in Philippines Urban Living Solutions Inc. (PULS), the company that operates “MyTown.” PULS owns and manages five buildings in Makati and BGC with more than 1,000 beds all operated under the “MyTown” brand. The company specializes in building 10- to 20-square meter residential units rented out near Metro Manila central business districts.
The group is excited with this new venture as across the metropolis since there’s a growing pool of office workers—especially young people who had just entered the workforce—who need halfway homes but cannot afford yet to purchase their first residence. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA
‘Breach of trust’
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom is conducting an investigation into the suspected prohibited conduct of four global reinsurance brokers, namely Aon, the Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) Group, Willis Towers Watson, UIB and Marsh. Specifically, the regulator is looking into allegations that these firms have been sharing competitively sensitive information regarding their aviation insurance accounts.
This development comes barely a few weeks after Robert Coyiuto Jr.-owned Prudential Guarantee and Assurance filed a related complaint against Marsh in the UK High Court in London.
According to lawyer Jose Bernas, who represents the non-life firm, Marsh allegedly disclosed highly confidential and proprietary aviation insurance information to the chief executive of a local airline (Clue: Not Philippine Airlines), which indicated a malicious breach of trust.
“What they did was to share competitive cost information in order to besmirch the reputation of my client and to steal business away from them,” Bernas says. “I hope that this kind of behavior does not taint the entire industry because this lack of ethics sets a negative precedent for insurance companies that play by the proper rules. It’s a good thing that the FCA is cracking down on this conduct.”
Bernas likewise urged the Insurance Commission to take a closer look at the way foreign reinsurance brokers operate within the country. “By divulging restricted information and poaching insurance clients through this practice, brokers will effectively be underwriting risk and doing insurance business without a license,” he says. “Even more worrisome is the fact that they will not be responsible for the risks insured.”
Although Marsh reportedly settled this particular case out of the UK High Court, the FCA is nevertheless pursuing administrative violations of insurance industry rules against the brokers.
Apart from their conduct involving aviation insurance accounts, a number of global property and casualty insurers have likewise urged the FCA to investigate other abuses carried out by insurance brokers, including demands for excessive commissions, the introduction of various fees and charges, and predatory behavior at the expense of customers and undertakers. If found guilty, these brokers may face stiff sanctions and penalties for their offenses. —DAXIM L. LUCAS
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