BIZ BUZZ: Aranetas sue ‘negligent’ JP Morgan | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Aranetas sue ‘negligent’ JP Morgan

/ 02:22 AM March 24, 2023

The heads of the billionaire Araneta family—Jorge and Stella Araneta, whose names are synonymous with the Cubao commercial center that bears the family’s name—have taken JP Morgan Chase to court over their missing jewelry.

Missing jewelry? Yes. Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that the power couple sued the global banking powerhouse for having auctioned off their valuables that were stored in the bank’s safety deposit boxes in New York City which they had been maintaining since 2006.


Apparently, the annual dues for the safety deposit boxes were being settled through regular deductions from the couple’s bank accounts.

In 2016, the bank sent notices that the boxes would be forcibly opened and their contents sold off if the overdue bills were not settled. In 2017, the boxes were drilled open and their contents moved to a safe location, Bloomberg reported.


In 2019, the couple learned about this and settled all overdue bills with the bank promising that the contents would be returned to them. Unfortunately, the jewelry were auctioned off soon after for a little over $500,000 when, according to the Aranetas, they were worth as much as $10 million.

All the while, JP Morgan had been mailing billing notices to another address and the couple weren’t receiving them. Whoopsie. —Daxim L. Lucas

Romualdez restarting Armstrong

House Speaker Martin Romualdez tends to be involved in a lot of official and unofficial initiatives nowadays, but he’s not the only Romualdez who’s keeping busy.

His son, Andrew, is also starting to step into the limelight, especially with the launch—or should we say “relaunch”—of a stockbrokerage firm known as Armstrong Securities Inc.

Now, old stock market hands will definitely recognize that name because Armstrong has been around for over three decades. Thirty-five years, to be exact.

But it hasn’t been very high profile or aggressive. All that is about to change with the younger Romualdez being named one of the company’s directors.

At the event, Armstrong Securities chair Wilson Chua highlighted the firm’s commitment to professional service.


“As a securities company with a history of 35 years, we adhere to the business philosophy that is integrity-based and service-oriented,” he said.

More importantly, Armstrong is set to launch its own digital platform, according to Romualdez.

“Our online trading platform will be launched soon – it’s a multilingual trading platform, hopefully we will be the pioneers of this,” he said. “We look forward to serving our existing and prospective clients so we can be part of the Philippine Stock Exchange’s target of hitting P160B capital raising this year.”

The original Armstrong Securities opened its doors in 1988, engaged in the business of offering, buying, selling, dealing or trading securities. Last year, BDO Strategic Holdings Inc. and Golden Maple Holdings Inc. sold their equity interest in Armstrong to RYM Business Management, MNM Capital and ISky Empire Realty Inc. —Daxim L. Lucas

Regional expansion

GMA Network has ramped up its presence in the provinces with the launching of its 12th regional station in Ilocos Norte earlier this month. This  is the media group’s fifth regional station in Luzon after GMA Dagupan, GMA Ilocos Sur, GMA Bicol and GMA Batangas.

“With the launch of GMA Ilocos Norte Station as one of the key hubs of GMA Regional TV, this strengthens our local news coverage in North Central Luzon, and solidifies GMA Integrated News’ position as the ‘News Authority of the Filipino,’” said Oliver Victor Amoroso, first vice president and head of GMA regional TV and synergy and acting head of GMA integrated news.

Last year, the regional arm of the media giant introduced its newscast GMA Regional TV One North Central Luzon, servicing Pangasinan, Benguet, La Union, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Tuguegarao, Isabela, Baler, Olongapo, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra and Batanes.

GMA noted it was able to dominate the TV space in key regional cities last year. Citing from Metro Cities TV Audience Measurement data, the company said it reached 99 percent of the viewers in Metro Dagupan; 93 percent in Metro Cebu; and 96 percent in Metro Davao. —Tyrone Jasper C. Piad

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TAGS: Araneta, Biz Buzz, GMA network, JP Morgan Chase
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