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SSS plans sale of P20B in assets

/ 09:29 PM October 11, 2013

After selling one of its prime properties for more than P2 billion, the Social Security System is bent on cashing in on its other assets.

According to Emilio de Quiros Jr., president and chief executive officer of the state-run pension fund for private-sector employees, the SSS has a few more real assets with an estimated value of P20 billion that it could privatize.

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Two of its biggest remaining assets are the so-called Block 57 in Bonifacio Global City and a 4-hectare prime property in East Ave., Quezon City.

The SSS announced Tuesday that it had awarded one of its properties in BGC, located at Block 56, to Clark Quay Holdings Inc., which was the lone bidder during the auction on Sept. 17, although there were a few others that submitted pre-qualification documents.

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De Quiros said cashing in on other properties was an objective complementing the need to boost the reserve fund of the SSS.

He said that while the SSS wanted to sell other properties, it was also open to joint-venture business proposals if such mode would be preferred by potential investors.

While the SSS is on a disposal mode as far as its real assets are concerned, the pension fund manager is in the mood to invest more in equities.

De Quiros said in an earlier interview that the SSS was considering maximizing its allowable exposure to the stock market. Under its charter, the SSS can place as much as 30 percent of its investment reserve fund in stocks.

At least 20 percent of the more than P350 billion in investment reserve fund of the SSS is in equities. It has exposure in various industries, including banking and finance, telecommunications, real estate, utilities, infrastructure and power.

De Quiros said investing more in equities was deemed prudent given the likelihood that stock prices, after the decline in the first semester, could be on an uptrend.

He said the investment grade given recently by Moody’s Investors Service to the Philippines also augured well for local stocks.

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Meantime, the SSS needs to boost its investment reserve fund to extend the actuarial life of its fund. Currently, the life of the SSS fund is estimated to last 26 years or until 2039.

The increase in members’ contributions that will take effect in January next year is expected to stretch the life of the SSS fund to 2043. However, De Quiros said SSS had a long way to go to reach the ideal life of 70 years for a pension fund.

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TAGS: asset sale, Business, Social Security System
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