EY Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger meets Philippine VP

On his recent visit to the Philippines to attend the SGV 70th anniversary celebration, EY Global Chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger met with newly elected Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo at a relaxed luncheon. The luncheon was also attended by SGV Founder Wash SyCip and SGV’s Executive Committee.

Before meeting Vice President Robredo, Mark was interviewed on the ABS-CBN News Channel about EY in Asia and the Philippines, doing business in the Philippines under the new administration, and the impact of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union or Brexit.

“We have a big focus on ASEAN. We had another strong year of growth in ASEAN at over 11%,” he shared. When it comes to the Philippines, he said, “Because of the tremendous education, the English language knowledge, and the skill set in the Philippines, we’re investing in people here who will serve across the entire region and across the world through our Global Delivery Services… This is becoming a hub for us. And we see our investment in the Philippines and across ASEAN continuing to increase at a very good rate.” In addition to these strengths, he remarked on the legacy of SGV in the Philippines: “We have a dominant market share here, which helps. And I do see it as being near the top of our investment areas… There’re 32,000 alumni from SGV around the world in C-suites, in industry, in academia, in government. We just had new people join this government, the new government, from SGV. So we’re really proud of our organization here, and it’s made us stronger for sure.”

He also looks forward to seeing the economic policy of the Philippines’ new administration. “Increasing foreign direct investment in new sectors, expanding trade with the TPP, investing in infrastructure, bringing inclusive growth, and making sure that they deal with the poverty situation are all things businesses are watching,” he shared. “The Philippines is doing very well with a 6% growth rate, low inflation and low energy cost, but they still have to compete with the rest of ASEAN. They have to look to lower their taxes, be more competitive and get rid of some of the bureaucracy. Over time, the whole area is going to come together and the Philippines has got to continue to liberalize its economic positions.”

Mark believes that Brexit will have no direct impact on the Philippines and ASEAN, saying, “The UK is not a huge trading partner with the Philippines. That being said, the global uncertainty the Brexit creates and the questions about what’s going to happen next in Europe slow down the overall growth of the global economy… so it’s harder for some exports from the Philippines perhaps. But it doesn’t have a direct effect. In fact, the ASEAN community is continuing to grow strong and they benefit to some degree by being a more safe haven.”