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Biz Buzz: One classy wedding

/ 12:18 AM November 13, 2015

What gift do you give to a man who has (almost) everything? Or his son, for that matter?

That must have been one of the biggest problems facing guests who were invited to the wedding of Andrew Tan’s son, Kester Andrew, last weekend.

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After all, what wedding present can you give to the son of the self-made property tycoon who is already a billionaire—in dollar terms, no less—and is listed as one of the country’s wealthiest by Forbes magazine?

Well, the VIP guests didn’t have to look far beyond the classy invitation to the wedding of the younger Tan to longtime girlfriend Kelsey Cheng.

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Speaking of the invitation, it also departed radically from the practice of some of the country’s elite (or the wannabes, at least) of having a kilometric list of wedding sponsors. Instead, the invitation listed only four pairs of ninongs and ninangs, led by Philippine Stock Exchange chair and former Finance Secretary Jose Pardo and his wife Marilyn. Tan was one of the special guests at Pardo’s Tagaytay Highlands birthday bash earlier this year, thus revealing long ties between both gentlemen.

Also standing as sponsors were Victoriano and Elizabeth Sy, Stephen and Dorothy Secosana and Jeff Ng and Sally Sy.

One of the guests of honor was President Aquino (who is getting flak for skipping the “Yolanda” anniversary activities in Tacloban that day, but that’s another story).

The wedding, which was celebrated at the Shrine of the St. Therese of the Child Jesus church next to Megaworld’s Newport City development, was held last Nov. 8 (the lucky number 8, of course), and reception followed at the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel also within the same Megaworld-owned complex (and why not?).

But we digress. The invited guests didn’t have to worry about buying expensive presents, which the families of the newlyweds could clearly afford, or worse, already have. The third page of the four-page invitation stated that “in lieu of gifts, we would appreciate your charitable donation to the Sisters of Mary Schools in Silang, Cavite.” It then stated which party to make the check donations payable to, and also listed four different bank accounts from four different banks for cash donations (as there are clearly many people who still prefer to do business in cash, for one reason or another).

Also included in the page was the website address of the charitable institution so that donors would know exactly whom they were donating to and for what cause.

So if you think Megaworld’s property developments have a little too much loud Venetian flair in them, this simple, classy and generous act by Tan’s son and his new bride certainly make up for that. Thumbs up! Daxim L. Lucas

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HSBC at 140

YOU wouldn’t know it from the spiffy looks of their branches, but financial giant HSBC is actually over a century old in the Philippines as of this week—nearly a century and a half, in fact.

Biz Buzz learned that the bank, formerly known as (and still officially known as) the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp., celebrated its 140th year in the Philippines on Nov. 11. That’s 140 years after the bank first opened an office in the Binondo district to facilitate trade payments for what was then the booming trade business between Manila and Hong Kong, back then the most dynamic trading port pair in the region.

Since opening its doors in 1875, HSBC has grown to only 15 branches in the country (including branches in Cebu and Davao, and including eight courtesy of its savings bank subsidiary). But don’t be fooled by its small branch network. The bank punches way above its weight when it comes to wholesale banking activities like loan syndication, debt underwriting for the Philippine government and some of the country’s biggest conglomerates, and other innovative investment banking activities.

At 140, HSBC is the oldest foreign bank in the country, and is just a couple of decades younger than the oldest local financial institution, the Ayala-controlled Bank of the Philippine Islands which is 164 years old this year.

In any case, don’t expect any fanfare for the local HSBC unit until after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next week.

The big birthday bash will have to wait as the bank’s local top brass—led by its first Filipino country head, Wick Veloso—will be busy hosting even bigger top brass from overseas, specifically the Hong Kong chief executive who will be in town for the Apec summit.

Veloso himself is busy not only with sealing big deals, the day-to-day running of the bank, making surprise visits to its branches, and extra activities, serving as the bank’s representative on the  board of trustees of the British School Manila (which is another juicy story altogether).

So expect a belated birthday bash for HSBC later this month. Better late than never. Daxim L. Lucas

Business as usual at MOA

YES, a lot of Apec summit activities will be held in the areas near Manila Bay, what with the leaders’ summit happening at the Philippine International Convention Center and many world leaders staying in bayfront property hotels, like Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Solaire Resort and Casino and the Manila Diamond.

But it will be business as usual for SM’s flagship mall, the Mall of Asia.

According to a company source, rumors that everything in the vicinity of the Apec summit will be closed down is simply not true. In fact, SM MOA will be open to serve the public from Nov. 16-20 and will observe regular mall hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

It’s bad enough for the man on the street that many businesses and modes of transport will be disrupted next week, so it’s a welcome relief that shops and restaurants at the SM group’s biggest retail property will be open.

Besides, where will all those Apec delegates go for their pasalubong shopping, right?  Daxim L. Lucas

E-mail us at [email protected] 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: Andrew Tan, APEC, Biz Buzz, Business, businessman, guest, HSBC, Kester Andrew, Mall of Asia, MOA, tycoon, Wedding
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