The Money Market Association of the Philippines (MART) celebrated its 42nd anniversary along with the observance of its Money Market Consciousness Week through a program of activities from November 11 to November 17, 2013.

           Kicking off the week-long celebration was the release of a MART newspaper supplement at the Philippine Star in its November 11, 2013 issue. On said date, an Anniversary Mass was celebrated at the Legaspi Room of Intercontinental Manila. This was immediately followed by anniversary cocktails graced by MART Officers and Board of Directors and authorized representatives of different MART member institutions. It was an opportune time for the MART officials to let the members know what the MART Board has accomplished during the year.


An outreach program at the Boy’s Town Complex at Parang, Marikina was scheduled on Day 2, November 16, 2013. The activity, however, was moved in December to coincide with the month of Christmas celebration to make the event more memorable for the children.


On Day 3, a formal press luncheon with the BSP Press Corp. was held at Century Seafood Restaurant in PasayCity. This was hosted by the MART Executive Board, composed of Pres. Michael Calleja, Vice Pres. Reynaldo Montalbo, Corp. Sec. Manuel Goseco and Treasurer Dalmacio “Coco“ Martin.


Seminars, conducted by BDO’s First Vice President and Chief Strategist, Jonathan L. Ravelas, filled Day 4 of the awareness week. An Economic Briefing with the Palawan Bankers Association was made during the morning of that day followed by the Businessmen’s Forum PCCII & PFCCCII in the afternoon at the Legend Hotel.


On Day 5, MART Vice Pres. Rey Montalbo, Jr. and Director Joselito Ricardo G. Nazario (EVP and Treasurer of PVB) showed as guests of ABS-CBN’s “Bayan Mo Ipatrol Mo” radio program, anchored by Rex Ruta. They raised the awareness of the listening public on what MART does and what the money market industry is all about. Later in the morning, Mr. Dalmacio D. Martin of BDO and Ervin Paolo S. Belen of MIB visited the PalawanState and HolyTrinityUniversities for their respective campus briefings which aimed to inform and equip the students with the basics of the money market business in the Philippines.


         Day 5, November 15, also marked the start of the MART Convention proper. A contingent of 320 MART delegates composed of traders and brokers of prominent local and international financial institutions trooped to PuertoPrincesaCity. The delegates who arrived in several batches, settled into the comforts of Hotel Centro, Citystate Asturias Hotel and The Legend Hotel. The city’s top hotels for business travelers and tourists, served as both home and center of activities for three days and two nights of the convention.


         The convention proper began with dinner where members enjoyed Palawan’s famous fresh seafood as they listened to Mr. Emilio S. Neri, Jr., BPI’s Lead Economist, and Mr. Jonathan L. Ravelas, BDO’s Chief Market Strategist, who shared their respective insights on the market. For 2014, Jun Neri sees 10-Year US Treasuries to continue hovering at the 2.7% to 3.0% range with local 10-Year yields climbing to 3.75 to 4.75%. The Peso was also likely to weaken, ending 2014 at Php44.60 = USD1.00. Despite these, Philippine fundamentals are expected to remain intact with debt-to-GDP declining, growth sustained by internal earnings, and inflation being managed at 3.5% average level. Jonas Ravelas agreed in saying that Asian countries in general will continue to grow at a steady pace. The Eurozone and the US may also have modest growth underway, but growth risks and unemployment problems in both areas still remain.  After the sumptuous meal and the very informative talks, official representatives of member institutions proceeded to elect the new set of 2014 MART Officers and Board of Directors.


         The MART Fun Night, followed suit at the Hotel Centro poolside and gave members an opportunity to relax, unwind and socialize with friends and counterparties from the market. The election results were subsequently announced during the program. Lots of prizes were given out via raffle while free flowing drinks were served, along with a variety of appetizing hors d’oeuvres.


         Of course, going to Puerto Princesa would not be complete without experiencing the UndergroundRiver, the Honda Bay Island or a tour of the city of Puerto Princesa. Fortunately, members did not miss the chance to spend their Saturday in one of these three amazing locations. Regardless of their choice, it was an exhilarating adventure for everyone!


         Concluding the day of scenic sites and Instagram-worth pictures were a buffet dinner served in the ballroom of Asturias Hotel and the much-awaited Brokers’ Night, where all the guests were able to bond with other delegates and enjoy their last night in Puerto Princesa.


As with every MART convention, this year’s did not fail to provide the fun and excitement that market participants look forward to. It gave everyone the opportunity to network, share market views, and hear from the experts – all these while letting loose in the beautiful island of Palawan.


            Overall, the Money Market Association of the Philippines was thankful for the year 2013 was. Truly, after breaking higher ground at 42, MART is looking forward to another challenging yet much more fulfilling year ahead.

 By: Randy Salonga

      China Bank