Manila Archdiocese’s paper wealth in BPI tops P30B

Emeterio Sd. Perez

Emeterio Sd. Perez

BANK executives are proving to be very expensive. That is, if their worth or value would be measured by the amounts that the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) paid its management team in 2013 and 2014.

But here is what could be good news to the poorest of the poor among Catholics: The Catholic Church in the Philippines has so much to give if she would choose to sell her holdings in BPI. As of Friday, the value of the Church’s holdings in the bank came close to P32 billion, but it is not selling that.

Meanwhile, consider the following compensation data culled from BPI filings posted on the website of the Philippine Stock Exchange:

In 2013, BPI paid its executives P4.587 billion, which was roughly about 55.318 percent of the P8.292 billion in compensation and fringe benefits it paid them and the rest of its employees. The following year, the bank’s executive compensation increased to P5.151 billion, which represented 53.836 percent of P9.568 billion in compensation and fringe benefits paid for that year.

These numbers tell the public that in the last two years, BPI, which is controlled by the Zobel family, paid its management team—from the chairman of the board down to the last executive—a total of P9.738 billion.

As detailed in a compensation filing, BPI’s generosity to its top five executives totaled P193.962 million in 2013. The amount consisted of salaries, P101.089 million and bonuses, P92.873 million. This slightly increased to P195.732 million in 2004, which was divided into salaries, P131.618 million and bonuses, P64.114 million.

For 2015, BPI estimates the five-man team’s pays and perks will be lower at P194.643 million, with salaries amounting to P126.682 million and bonuses P67.861 million.

By the way, lest the public be misled into believing that BPI’s generosity begins at home, Jaime Augustus Zobel and his younger brother, Fernando Zobel, BPI chairman and vice chairman respectively, are not among the bank’s five highest paid executives.

BPI’s compensation package reached the multi-billion peso level in the lower executive brackets. In 2013, BPI paid “all other unnamed officers” P4.393 billion in compensation, divided into salaries of P3.816 billion and bonuses of P577.104 million.

The following year, it paid them close to P5 billion at P4.955 billion, of which salaries amounted to P4.319 billion and bonuses, P636.47 million.

This year, it estimates the “unnamed” executives’ compensation at P4.909 billion, divided into salaries of P4.234 billion and bonuses of P674.961 million.

As reported in a PSE posting, BPI (parent only) registered net profit of P14.468 billion in 2013, which fell 8.28 percent to P13.27 billion in 2014 despite interest income that climbed 15.569 percent in 2014 to P31.963 billion from P27.657 billion in 2013.

In the same financial filing, BPI reported consolidated net profit of P16.502 billion in 2012; P18.994 billion in 2013; and P18.062 billion in 2014.

At the same time, BPI also disclosed the dividends that it paid its stockholders, which have been reduced to P1.80 per share in each of the last two years—a big drop from P2.30 per share in 2012.

(P1.80 per share dividend translates to 1.8 percent return per share computed on BPI’s closing price of P100 on Friday.)

The dividends in 2013 and 2014 were paid in two tranches of P0.90 per share. These reduced BPI’s surplus to P76.575 billion by Dec. 31, 2014.

Incidentally, the 15 members of the BPI board received a total compensation of P35 million, or P2.33 million each and a bonus of P1.009 million each in 2013. In 2014, as a group, they received P39.2 million, or P2.613 million each; and a bonus of P1.549 million each.

A deal involving total pays and perks of P3.712 million each is not bad for the bank’s six independent directors.

Ownership profile
As of March 6, BPI had 3.929 billion outstanding shares, of which the public owned 1.855 billion, or 47.213 percent. Based on these latest figures, its three principal stockholders hold a total of 2.038 billion shares, or 61.82 percent. These are Ayala Corp. (AC) with 858.599 million shares, or 21.83 percent; Ayala DBS Holdings Inc., 837.631 million shares, or 21.3 percent; and AC International Finance Limited, 341.845 million shares, or 8.69 percent.

A PSE posting listed the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila as owner of 327.904 million BPI shares, or 8.339 percent. At P100 per share, that makes the Manila Archdiocese very rich with paper wealth of P32.79 billion.

AC, in turn, is owned by the following stockholders: Mermac Inc., which is the unlisted holding company of the Zobels, with 49.0261 percent in common shares and 56.5343 percent voting shares, while Mitsubishi Corp. holds 10.183 percent in common shares and 11.681 percent in total voting shares.


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  1. Vicente Penetrante on

    Yet, the church says that we are lacking in priests.
    In our parishes, how many starving people can each priest invite for breakfast, lunch or dinner with the archdiocese money?

  2. Justaskingseriously on

    This is merely a reflection of the affluence that is concentrated in Manila since the Spanish times. My memory is alI I can rely on. It is rather sketchy.

    There was a time when the Archdiocese of Manila was under the pastoral care of Rufino Cardinal Santos. He was noted as a stock exchange wizard. I have no info on a bank called Monte de Piedad (Spanish for Mount of Compassion). Very fitting name if it was really owned by the Archdiocese of Manila.

    Then the time came for Jaime Cardinal Sin to take over the Archdiocese of Manila. Monte de Piedad was liquidated (correct me if I am wrong on this liquidation). I do not even have any idea where Monte de Piedad was located or if it is still around. But it was a surprising and welcome news item that the money was divided among the dioceses of the whole Philippines. It was a welcome move especially for the impoverished old priests who retired, but there was really nothing to retire on. Chances were that their relatives had gone on ahead of them.

    My guess is that the shares of all the other dioceses are reflected in this paper wealth. When Pope Francis went to Tacloban to commiserate with the victims of Yolanda (Haiyan), the inclement weather rushed the Pope’s visit. He barely had time to (bless?) the house for the aged donated by the Vatican. Every catholic diocese is actually financially on its own as a “corporation sole”. Emeterio Sd. Perez can explain what a corporation sole is, I am sure.

    This may help form charitable opinions on the “wealth” of the Catholic Church. The real wealth of the Catholic Church? All the poor of the world. That is the wealth of the Catholic Church. That is most likely the reason why people often say that where you have the Catholic Church there you find many poor people. Look at South America, they would say. Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The communists have a different take on this: religion is the opium of the people. Their focus, of course, is only on the state and nothing else. Under the current administration, where is the focus, you think?

    • Justaskingseriously on

      No one is watching you to make sure you give your donation. Your donation is merely an expression of your offering of yourself. If you have yourself offered already during Mass, no one obliges you to donate cash or check. The main thing is that you offer all of yourself to Him who offered Himself for us for love of us.

  3. kabayang Jose on

    When the Americans defeated the Spaniards, the Roman Catholic is the riches organization with vast of lands. Ateneo and LA Salle University where the sons or the rich and famous are managed and operated by two different Catholic missionary order. They charged the most expensive tuition fees in the country. Pope Francis reminded the Catholic faithful to help the poor. These universities should create more scholarship for the best and the brightest from the poor barrios of the Philippines.

    What happened to the vows of poverty? There’s nothing wrong if the Catholic Church is blessed with financial blessings but they have to be reminded that they were blessed so they could be a blessing to others especially the poor and the under privileged!

  4. Eddie de Leon on

    Please bother to look and you will see that the Archdiocese of Manila’s spending for charity for the poorest of the poor, the squatters and the education of working-class and poor children in parish schools and other arrangements is more much ore than that of the government!!!!

  5. If only the Archdiocese of Manila will abide by Christ’s teachings, it would sell at least half of its P32 billion BPI holdings and give them to poor Filipinos. Then it could truly call itself a follower of Christ. But do not hold your breath – it will not.

    As the Bible says “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”.