PH needs globally competitive CFOs

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THE Philippines needs more globally competitive chief financial officers (CFOs) to help sustain the country’s economic growth, the central bank said during the ING Bank-Finance Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) CFO Awards held on Wednesday.

In his keynote speech, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said the economic story of the Philippines remains one of growth.

“As of September this year, we have had 71 quarters of uninterrupted GDP growth. The series of economic reforms and the enhanced governance standards we have adopted have built the base upon which we have derived the momentum for sustained and resilient growth,” he said.

In particular, Tetangco said the country’s 7.1 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the third quarter this year counts as the fastest in Asia “even as we managed to keep prices low and stable.”

He noted that this brought the average inflation rate for the first 10 months of the year to 1.6 percent.
“This is where we are right now. Where do we go from here? Some of you may ask: is growth sustainable?
Well, we have CFOs around the room. What do you think?” he asked.

“If you ask me, my answer is yes — our economy will continue to grow based on what we see on the horizon. We will continue to move forward. I also believe we have sufficient buffers against external headwinds,” he added.

He noted that the country’s gross international reserves of $85.75 billion as of end- October 2016 was enough to cover 10 months’ worth of imports, and also equivalent to 6.1 times the country’s short-term external debt based on original maturity and 4.4 times based on residual maturity.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the strength of the Philippine economy in general, and the banking system in particular, can be attributed to more than two decades of reform,” he said.

Tetangco said the bigger picture “is defined not just by the complexities of finance. Rather, it is about the web of inter-connectedness between transacting parties across products, as well as the channels of risk that underpin the activities in the market.”

“This is the new prudential norm of financial stability. Under the regulatory framework anchored on financial stability, we look at how separate risks come together to form the bigger picture,” he said.

“This is the same challenge facing CFOs. What will separate the great CFOs from the pack is their ability to see this bigger picture while at the same time appreciating that underneath the bigger picture are many interconnected and moving parts,” he added.

With this, the BSP governor said the country needs CFOs who orient their organizations toward best practices; who create value and meet financial goals; who ensure regulatory compliance; who excel in risk management; and who address strategic issues that shape the organization’s future.

In addition, he said the Philippines also needs CFOs who can contend with fa ctors associated with economic, technical and political developments, and who should be catalysts, strategists, stewards and operators.

“I therefore conclude that a CFO who achieves all of these, at a time when global financial markets continue to spring surprises and the digital revolution is looming over every business line, fully deserves the honor of being named CFO of the Year! Congratulations to our awardee this year,” he said.

“You have the privilege and the responsibility to be a role model who inspires and motivates others to do better, to be more dynamic, ethical, and internationally competitive. This is important. We need more globally competitive CFOs in the country to help grow our economy,” he added.

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