From Wall Street trader to RE pioneer | Inquirer Business

From Wall Street trader to RE pioneer

/ 02:10 AM March 12, 2023

Vicente Perez Jr.

Vicente Perez Jr. —Contributed Photo

Vicente Perez Jr. had always dreamt of working abroad and establishing himself as a successful expat. When he graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in business economics, he pursued his dream by securing an internship job in the US.

“My first job was an internship with Far East Bank,” Perez says. “But then I wanted to go abroad to get an AIESEC internship in the US. I wanted to do it by myself..and I wrote a letter to Jobo Fernandez, who was president of Far East at that time. ‘Do you mind sponsoring me? I want to try it in in the US’. So, he paid for my travel ticket.”


During his time in the US, Perez had a bigger goal in sight. He wanted to get a Master of Business Administration from the prestigious Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. But since he could not afford the high tuition fees, he decided to apply for a teaching assistant role at the school to earn extra income.


“Remember, I wanted to do it on my own, so I wrote to 24 professors. ‘Please, do you need a teaching assistant?’ Twenty-three said no, but one said ‘yes! You’re from the Philippines? I need someone to do research on the labor unions’. So I worked, while studying for my MBA.”

It was during his MBA stint at Wharton that Perez began his career in investment banking. He was recruited by Mellon Bank after completing his MBA, where he was trained to trade debt securities for the Latin American market.


Within a few years, Perez quickly made a name for himself as a star trader, which led him to be recruited by the global investment firm, Lazard to become the first Filipino partner in Wall Street at a young age of 35.

In the late 1990s, after achieving success as an investment banker, he sold his share in Lazard and established his own private equity fund called Next Century Partners in Singapore in 1996.

“I invested in a startup company called Smart Telecom, and then I sold to PLDT,” he says.

In early 2000, Perez was invited by his former University of the Philippines professor, President Gloria Macapagal, to join the government.

“I was her student and she said ‘hey, you’ve done so well. Come home, do something for your country.’ And I was in Singapore. I had huge salary cut. I became first head of BOI (Board of Investment). She said ‘you’re good in investment promotion. Work there’. But then after three months, she had a (Cabinet) reshuffle and I became energy secretary for four years. And what is four years? A college degree, so I figured I learned so much already,” he says.

When Perez resigned from the government in 2005, he witnessed the vast potential of renewable energy in the Philippines. He saw an opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment while creating a profitable business.

In 2008, Vince took on a new challenge and established his own renewable energy company called Alternergy. Over the years, Alternergy has grown to become a pioneer in the Philippine renewable energy industry, with an impressive portfolio of 10 hydro, solar and wind farms.

This week, Vince is taking Alternergy to the public in a bid to raise up to P1.6 billion. This move will allow the company to expand its operations further and solidify its position in the renewable energy market.

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The public offering is set to give Alternergy a market capitalization of about P5 billion, a testament to Perez’s successful effort to provide clean and sustainable energy to the country. —CONTRIBUTED

TAGS: Banking, Wall Street

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