LJM named ASEAN Regional Risk Management Leader

Recognizing his strong background in quality and risk management, SGV Chief Risk Officer and Advisory Partner Leo Matignas, Jr. (LJM) has been appointed to succeed Bella Luzano as the EY Regional Risk Management Leader for ASEAN.

LJM is a CPA and heads the Risk sub-service line on SGV’s Advisory Services practice. He is also a Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Fraud Examiner and Certified Risk Management and Assurance Practitioner. He pioneered the risk services and fraud investigation services of the Firm.

Congratulations on the new leadership role, LJM!

WS Park unveils Crane and Turtle Garden

Last Valentine’s Day, the Tsuruki En (The Crane and Turtle Garden) was unveiled in the Washington SyCip Park. The Japanese garden was named after traditional Asian symbols of long life — the crane and the turtle – and they personify a legacy of the lasting friendship between the Philippines and Japan. The garden was a joint project of Security Bank (SBC), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) and SGV Founder Washington SyCip with the cooperation of the Makati Commercial Estate Association Inc. (MACEA). A Japanese architectural firm, Sankakuya Inc. of Kyoto, designed and built the garden.

Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Wash SyCip, Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay, SBC Chairman Emeritus Frederick Dy, SBC Chairman Alberto Villarosa, Ayala Group Chairman and CEO Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi President and CEO Takayoshi Futae participated in the sake barrel-breaking ceremony called kagami-biraki. A Japanese tradition that celebrates new beginnings and the strengthening of friendship, the ceremony highlighted the significance of Philippine-Japan business relations and cultural exchange.

Indirect Tax Group holds seminar on customs rules and processes

On 16 February 2017, SGV’s Indirect Tax – Customs and Global Trade group conducted a seminar titled Customs Updates: A Comprehensive Seminar on the Changes in Customs Rules and Processes. More than 100 clients, mostly importers and exporters from various industries, attended the seminar held at the Washington SyCip Development Center (WSDC).

The seminar featured lectures and discussions on the Customs Administrative Orders (CAOs) recently issued by the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to implement the provisions of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA). The seminar also offered a first look at the other draft CAOs, which are currently the subject of public consultations by the BOC and/or pending approval by the DOF.

The seminar was primarily facilitated by Tax Partner and Head of the Indirect Tax practice Mark Tamayo, and Tax Principals Lucil Vicerra, Stef Nava and Vic de Dios. Other speakers included Senior Directors Vicki Ballesteros and Arlyn Sarmiento, and Associate Directors Josephine Grace Sandoval and Edward Gialogo.

FSO hosts forum on Anti-Money Laundering

As part of SGV’s thought leadership initiatives, the Financial Services Organization (FSO) recently hosted an Anti-Money Laundering Forum at the WSDC. Nearly 60 compliance and AML officers from different banking, insurance and financial institutions attended the event. The forum provided participants with insights on the recent developments in AML regulations, including the first Philippine National Risk Assessment (NRA) Report on AML and terrorism financing.

SGV FSO Head Vicky Lee-Salas (VLS) welcomed participants to the forum, while FSO Advisory Partner Ian Lauron (CGL) framed the Philippine context through the results of the NRA Report. He also shared some recommendations for improving current AML systems. EY Hong Kong and China Risk Leader and Asia Pacific AML Leader Philip Rodd shared his views on the AML regulatory environment, including highlights of the Financial Action Task Force, common regulatory findings and deficiencies, and best practices in preparing for a possible country AML audit.

VLS and CGL were the lead partners of the forum, which was organized by Assurance Senior Manager Veronica Arce with the core team comprising FSRM Manager Gabrielle Aragon and Senior Associates Christopher Yu and Denise Rancap, as well as Assurance Associates Radelaine Borreta and Germaine Chuabio.

FSRM leads workshop series

SGV’s Financial Services Risk Management (FSRM) group spearheaded a workshop series on Risk, Regulatory and Reporting Developments, which highlighted various oversight reforms that reinforce regulatory policies, intensify accounting and reporting requirements, and strengthen risk management practices for banks and government financial institutions. Key accounting, finance and treasury officers, credit and risk managers, compliance and audit executives from government financial institutions participated in the pilot session.

The workshop focused on the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 9, Financial Instruments, issued on 24 July 2014 and effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018. IFRS 9 aims to align actual business practices with accounting processes and improve the usefulness of reporting financial instruments in decision-making. It introduces a new approach to the classification and measurement of financial assets, addresses the weakness of the “incurred loss” impairment model under International Accounting Standard (IAS) 39, Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement, and replaces it with the “expected loss” impairment model. It enables entities to represent in their financial statements the effects of their risk management activities through improved hedge accounting guidelines.

FSRM Partner Ian Lauron welcomed the participants, who were mainly from the banking, government and public sectors. In addition to the above topics, the workshop also included a discussion on Government Business Entities (GBEs) and the relevant standards applicable to these entities, including the Philippine Public Sector Accounting Standards applicable to Non-GBEs. Capital Markets and Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) Senior Director Leomar Velez gave an overview of the International Accounting Standards Board’s IAS 39 replacement project and discussed the new classification and measurement of financial instruments under IFRS 9. Transaction Advisory Services Senior Director Smith Lim discussed IFRS 13, Fair Value Measurement, and gave an in-depth lecture on the fair value framework and estimating fair values for debt and equity securities. Capital Markets and FAAS Senior Director Enrico Rullan talked about the disclosure requirements of IFRS 13, underscoring the importance and purpose of the fair value hierarchy and the required fair value disclosures. FSRM Director Gabriel Manasan facilitated the discussion on the valuation of financial instruments, while FSRM Director Belvin Armenion discussed the expected credit loss (ECL) impairment model of IFRS 9 and presented the industry roadmap and implementation timeline for banks.

Members of the core team that organized the workshops comprised FSRM Senior Associates Russel Aaron Ailes and John Russel Torsiende, Associate Gabriel Mari Tioco, and Executive Assistant Irish Anne Galaroza. Supporting members included Senior Associate Saldy Cabarubias, and Associates Jasmin Urriza, Ma Eraissa Asetre, Joshua Tricia Diaz and Justine Elysia Zarate.

GDS Philippines launches Automation Central

In line with SGV’s goal to deliver exceptional client service and demonstrate world-class Filipino talent to more EY offices around the world, the Global Delivery Services (GDS) Philippines launched its Automation Central last 26 January in Manila. Established as EY’s institutional response to the growing technological needs of businesses, the GDS Automation Central aims to build a digital workforce to support our highest performing teams. GDS professionals will be at the forefront of exploring and adopting emerging technologies to help improve efficiency, reduce costs and enhance quality through Robotic Process Automation (RPA). The RPA is a technological application that allows employees to configure computer software, to capture and interpret existing applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses and communicating with other digital systems.

EY Automation Services Global Head Deepak Swaroop highlighted three key factors – scale, technology and transformation – that the GDS Automation Central will focus on as EY continues to move forward. Following the launch in India last December 2016, the Philippines is the second location tapped to advance EY’s RPA agenda across Asia-Pacific and the globe.

SGV Chairman Vic Noel shared how the GDS Automation Central is well-suited to SGV’s culture of continuous learning given today’s fast-paced knowledge-based digital ecosystem. SGV Managing Partner Itos Cruz also spoke at the launch, highlighting that the new facility is a testament to Filipino talent.

The launch was followed by a town hall session on the GDS Client Service and Enablement Services.

Click here to learn more about GDS and its Automation Central.

Kudos to the new CFA Level 1 exam passers!

Transaction Advisory Services associates Sedfrey Reyes, Jairus Sobrevinas, and Camille Valerie Torre are one step closer to completing the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program after successfully clearing the first level of the examinations.

Offered by the CFA Institute, the CFA credential is the standard of choice for investment professionals with real-world analytical skills, technical competence, and high professional standards. Level 1 tests a candidate’s knowledge and comprehension of investment tools while Level 2 focuses on application of these tools and analysis for asset valuation. Level 3 is the synthesis and evaluation of all these learnings in the portfolio management context.

Congratulations to Sedfrey, Jairus and Camille!

CGL attends ARPM Program in New York

Financial Services Organization (FSO) Advisory Partner Ian Lauron (CGL) attended the Advanced Risk and Portfolio Management (ARPM) Bootcamp, an intensive quantitative finance course taught by ARPM founder Attilio Meucci at New York University. The program provided both the big picture and an in-depth understanding of quantitative risk management and quantitative portfolio management, from instrument to enterprise level, for asset management, banking and insurance.

The ARPM program covered such topics as portfolio construction, factor modeling optimization, modelling, data mining, trade execution and more.

CGL – who leads the SGV Financial Services Risk Management (FSRM) practice – attended the program to learn firsthand about developments that are fast taking shape in the worlds of finance and risk management. He noted how the program content helped validate the ongoing industry redirection towards the computational and data sciences.

CGL also attended the bootcamp sessions on MATLAB, an advanced mathematical software, and Python, which focused on technology.

“From a service line perspective, the ARPM experience will certainly influence the future direction of our practice and the type of talents we will invite. This tough, but definitely exciting, journey ahead parallels the broadening of our practice in terms of sectoral focus – whether banking and capital markets, insurance, wealth and asset management, pension or private equity,” shared CGL.

CGL also visited EY New York and met with FSO and FSRM executives there to exchange updates on areas such as structural reforms, stress testing, capital planning and emerging developments like Digital and Blockchain. He also met with SGV-FSRM alumni.

For more information on the ARPM program, please click here.

Cristina Sze is the new EY APAC IFRS Desk Operations Manager

Assurance Director Cristina Sze has been appointed the EY Asia-Pacific (APAC) International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Desk Operations Manager effective 1 January 2017. The position was previously held by Senior Director Emie Villanueva. Tina will be responsible for the management of the APAC IFRS Desk’s day-to-day activities, as well as all the communication and coordination of the APAC subject matter groups.

Tina also serves Market Group 8 audit clients and is a member of the Firm’s Accounting Standards Group (ASG). Emie will return full-time to the SGV Assurance practice, and will continue as one of the core team managers of the ASG.

Congratulations on the new role, Cristina!

SGV Davao participates in Mentor Micro-Enterprises program

SGV Davao recently participated as a mentor in the Mentor Micro-Enterprises (Mentor ME) program of the Department of Trade and Industry – Region XI and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc.-Go Negosyo. The program aims to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Davao through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship.

SGV Davao Tax Manager Aril Jay Allera, with assistance from Tax Senior Associates, talked about relevant taxation practices and laws, which include registration with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, income tax, business tax and value-added tax/percentage tax.

SGV Davao Assurance Partner Alvin Pinpin, accompanied by Associate Director Richard Saavedra and Associate Sharmaine Dianne Mamaed, discussed basic concepts of financial management, which include the time value of money, risk, costing and pricing, financial forecasting and financial analysis.

The mentors also had one-on-one mentoring sessions with micro entrepreneurs to discuss the application of the concepts to their individual business scenarios.