Benjamin E Diokno: Belief – dwelling via the pandemic


To the administrators, officers, and members of the Belief Officers Affiliation of the Philippines, company, women and gents, good afternoon! 

I welcome this chance to handle the membership of the TOAP as soon as once more and contact base on developments since I final spoke at your Common Membership Assembly in March of this yr.  

It has now been greater than 18 months for the reason that pandemic reached Philippine shores, and all of us – regulators, monetary establishments, and shoppers alike – have realized to adapt to new methods of working, doing enterprise, and dwelling. 

Financial Efficiency

Issues are wanting up for the Philippine financial system. 

The nation has simply recorded two consecutive quarters of progress, following up the 12.0 p.c enlargement registered within the second quarter of 2021 – the very best progress charge recorded since 1988 – with a 7.1 p.c enlargement in gross home product within the third quarter. 

Certainly, the third quarter progress surpassed expectations, resulting in optimism for a extra speedy return to pre-pandemic GDP ranges. The financial system stays on track to satisfy the federal government’s full yr progress forecast, which is within the vary of 4 to five p.c


The BSP expects inflation to stay manageable. Whereas headline inflation was at 4.8 p.c year-on-year in September, it decelerated to 4.6 p.c in October resulting from decrease meals inflation.

Whereas year-to-date common inflation stands at 4.5 p.c, above the goal vary of two to 4 p.c, the newest outturn is in keeping with the BSP’s evaluation that inflation will return to inside the goal vary earlier than year-end, then decline in direction of the midpoint over the following two years. 

This supplies the Bangko Sentral with room to take care of its accommodative financial coverage stance and strongly assist sustainable financial restoration. 

Steadiness of funds

The cumulative steadiness of funds place for 2021 stood at a deficit of US$665 million by end-September, reversing the excess recorded in the identical interval final yr. This may be largely attributed to the widening deficit in merchandise commerce. The nationwide authorities additionally noticed its internet international borrowings lower.

Gross Worldwide Reserves

Regardless of recording a month-on-month discount, the nation’s Gross Worldwide Reserves remained substantial at US$108 billion. This buffer represents 10.8 months’ price of import cowl. It is usually equal to about 5.4 instances the nation’s short-term exterior debt primarily based on residual maturity.

Home Liquidity

In the meantime, home liquidity is ample. M3 rose by 8.2 p.c year-on-year to P14.6 trillion in September 2021. The BSP is paying shut consideration to the dynamics of liquidity within the monetary system with an eye fixed towards supporting demand and financial exercise.


Remittances from abroad Filipinos stay a dependable supply of assist for the financial system. After a minimal contraction in 2020, money remittances have rebounded this yr. For the primary 9 months of the yr, OF remittances have been 5.6 p.c greater than the comparable determine in 2020. 

Stability of the Banking System

The Philippine banking system is robust. Complete belongings rose to P19.9 trillion as of end-August 2021, and deposits are additionally on an upward development, standing at P15.5 trillion. This encourages us to look towards monetary intermediation by supervised entities for assist for our recovering financial system.

Banks are well-capitalized. The capital adequacy ratios of the common and business banking trade on solo and consolidated bases improved to 17.0 p.c and 17.6 p.c, respectively, within the first half of the yr. These stay nicely above the ten.0 p.c minimal threshold set by the BSP.

In the meantime, the gross non-performing mortgage ratio of the system continues to be manageable, standing at 4.5 p.c in end-August. 

The NPL protection ratio stays excessive at 83.5 p.c, offering confidence in banks’ potential to soak up potential losses.

Efficiency of the Belief Trade 

The belief trade additionally continues to develop. After seeing a brief discount within the early days of the pandemic, belief belongings have rebounded, and have now considerably surpassed pre-pandemic ranges. 

Property beneath administration recorded a double-digit year-on-year enlargement of 18.4 p.c, aggregating to P4.8 trillion by end-June 2021. That is equal to 24.3 p.c of the banking system’s whole belongings.

The associated improve in charges and commissions contributed to the sustained profitability of the trade. The web earnings of belief establishments rose by P1.0 billion or 33.5 p.c year-on-year to P3.9 billion.

The general asset combine has been largely unchanged, with funds primarily invested in debt securities, adopted by equities and deposits in banks. 

Nonetheless, we have now noticed a major improve in investments in company debt and fairness securities, which rose year-on-year by 18.8 p.c and 39.0 p.c, respectively. 

That is considered as a part of the trouble of belief entities to acquire greater yields amid a low rate of interest surroundings.

Nonetheless, belief belongings are extremely liquid, with 90.3 p.c categorised as investments in extremely marketable securities and deposits in banks.

On the forefront of the belief trade’s progress is the continued surge in participation in unit funding belief funds (UITFs), by way of each quantity and variety of contributors.

UITF belongings grew by 34.1 p.c year-on-year to succeed in P1.3 trillion by end-June 2021. In the meantime, the variety of contributors rose by 117.4 p.c to nearly 1.6 million.

The substantial progress in UITFs is a welcome growth. The liquidity of UITFs additionally makes them an interesting funding outlet throughout these instances. The elevated on-line accessibility of UITFs through varied digital platforms has definitely contributed to their progress, and we anticipate a continued push on this regard.

Insurance policies Below the Belief Enterprise Mannequin Initiative

To additional the event of the trade, the BSP continues to reinforce its regulatory framework for belief entities beneath the Belief Enterprise Mannequin Initiative. 

By the regulatory reforms, that are set to be rolled out in phases, the BSP seeks to emphasise the significance of fine governance, efficient threat administration, and robust shopper safety. 

The primary section of the Belief Enterprise Mannequin Initiative was rolled out in early 2021, with the amendments to funding administration rules. Round No. 1109 lowered the minimal quantity for opening an funding administration account (IMA) and the required funding of every IMA in a commingled account. 

The decrease minimal requirement permits belief entities to faucet retail shoppers looking for returns greater than these of conventional deposit merchandise, thereby growing the participation of the general public within the securities markets. The amendments to the rules additionally permit commingled IMAs to spend money on a wider vary of monetary belongings. 

The subsequent section of the initiative will cowl seven areas. 

Three draft circulars have already been uncovered to the belief trade for feedback. 

The primary covers the licensing framework for UITFs. The amendments intention to streamline the approval course of for UITFs and make it extra risk-based. 

The second supplies a typical framework for the conduct of accounts evaluation by belief entities. This may assist be certain that shoppers are accorded with the identical diploma of due diligence no matter their alternative of trustee.

The third entails tips on the efficiency measurement of UITFs. This covers the BSP’s expectations on the choice of benchmarks for UITFs, primarily based on the ideas of honest illustration and full disclosure.

These three proposed issuances are actually beneath re-exposure or revision because the BSP considers the feedback obtained. 

Different coverage issuances within the pipeline embody complete funding tips that can function a guidebook on the funding processes for segregated belief accounts, different fiduciary accounts, and funding administration accounts. 

The BSP can also be set to amend rules on onboarding and the consumer suitability evaluation (CSA) course of. These amendments will assist be certain that onboarding procedures are tailor-made to shoppers’ threat profiles no matter funding mandate. The CSA course of can even be expanded to seize the consumer’s threat tolerance and monetary sophistication.

Afterward, we intend to situation steering to align the administration of UITFs with the Worldwide Group of Securities Commissions’ Rules for the Supervision of Operators of Collective Funding Schemes. 

Private Administration Belief rules can even be amended to make clear supervisory expectations on the method by which belief entities set up the belief goal and dispositive provisions of such agreements.

Broader Regulatory Initiatives

On a broader scale, the BSP continues to exert efforts towards the creation of a extra responsive and inclusive monetary system. Two precedence areas on this regard are sustainable finance and digital transformation. 

In line with the worldwide neighborhood, we have now more and more advocated for the broader adoption of sustainable finance within the Philippines. This begins with the combination of sustainability ideas into the company governance, strategic, and threat administration frameworks of our supervised monetary establishments. We encourage belief entities to make sure that environmental and social dangers are actively thought-about in your operational threat administration techniques. 

The BSP emphasizes the significance of making certain that funds categorised as sustainable are supported by duly differentiated funding methods. 

On the minimal, there should be enough analysis of the issuers’ sustainability-related commitments and the sustainable influence of their merchandise.

Disclosures relating to sustainable funds needs to be helpful to the decision-making of contributors. The target of investor safety is paramount on this space.

In the meantime, digital transformation is crucial in bringing the monetary system nearer to the individuals. 

Final yr, the BSP issued the Digital Funds Transformation Roadmap for the interval 2020 to 2023. The intention is to maneuver towards a cash-lite financial system, wherein at the very least 50 p.c of the full quantity of retail funds is in digital type. The Roadmap likewise entails the onboarding to the formal monetary system of at the very least 70 p.c of Filipino adults. This might be finished via fee or transaction accounts utilizing digital companies. 

Relatedly, the BSP has issued the Open Finance Framework, which is able to present monetary establishments and third events with “permission-based” entry to buyer data.  That is seen to help within the growth of progressive monetary services suited to the altering wants of Filipino shoppers.

Elevated digitalization of monetary transactions will be supported by the broader implementation of the Philippine Identification System, or PhilSys, which might create a singular, verifiable and biometric-based digital id for each Filipino. The operationalization of the PhilSys digital Know Your Buyer and authentication facility will facilitate the digital onboarding of shoppers. 

This transformation shouldn’t be restricted to fee services, but additionally applies to investments and different monetary transactions. Certainly, the exponential leap within the variety of UITF contributors will be largely traced to new buyers utilizing digital platforms. 

The BSP calls on supervised monetary establishments to take steps to satisfy this demand.

As expertise has superior, the digital transformation of belief entities’ techniques, processes and companies has develop into ever extra very important to success. 

As at all times, the BSP reminds monetary establishments to train warning and be certain that your threat administration techniques and controls stay well-suited to your evolving operations.

Trade Initiatives

The BSP acknowledges the efforts of the TOAP towards the sustainable growth of the belief trade.

Specifically, we commend the trade for its persevering with efforts to implement and improve the UITF Certification Program or the UCP for UITF advertising personnel. 

Because the certification requirement might be totally carried out by 2023, we enjoin the TOAP to work with its member-institutions to make sure that UITF advertising personnel are capable of efficiently full the Program. 

The BSP views this as an important initiative in ascertaining that that these personnel can present sufficient data on UITFs and promote the protected and efficient supply of monetary companies to shoppers.

We likewise recognize our collaboration with the TOAP as we work to develop the PERA ecosystem. The initiative to solicit options from member-institutions is welcome, as there’s nonetheless a great distance for PERA to go to succeed in its full potential. 

Belief entities are valued stakeholders on this initiative. We strongly encourage TOAP member-institutions to develop new merchandise to serve this worthy endeavor. We additionally stay up for persevering with cooperation on PERA data campaigns.

In closing, the COVID-19 pandemic has modified the way in which we dwell, and we discover ourselves in a brand new financial system. This actuality brings with it a set of challenges, but additionally new alternatives. One’s potential to thrive is dependent upon how one chooses to behave. 

This example calls to thoughts a Chinese language proverb, which matches: quote “A sensible man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that accommodates it.” finish quote

In a time when the surroundings is continually altering, adaptability is undoubtedly the important thing to success. The BSP strongly encourages the TOAP’s efforts towards the advance of the abilities of belief professionals and the enhancement of techniques that can permit member-institutions to be extra attentive to the wants of the investing public.

Relaxation assured that the BSP will proceed to collaborate with you on creating an surroundings conducive to monetary progress and innovation, towards our frequent aim of deeper and extra inclusive Philippine monetary markets.


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