Interview with Ramon Monzon, President & CEO, Philippine Stock Exchange

By: The WFE Focus Team Aug 2017

We interview Mr Monzon, following his recent appointment to the role of President & CEO of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

You’ve been in-role since May 2017; please tell us how the first few months have gone?

Prior to my appointment as President and CEO of Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. ('PSE') on 6 May 2017, I had been an Independent Director of PSE from 2015-2017 and served as the Chairman of the Audit Committee and Member of both the Risk Oversight and Nominations and Elections Committees. This two-year involvement with PSE allowed me to hit the ground running, so to speak, from day one in my new role as CEO.

Needless to say, the last three months have certainly been very busy and challenging as I wanted a faster implementation of some of the ongoing projects when I took over. At the same time, I wanted to put in place new initiatives that hopefully will increase public confidence in the equity market and attract more investors as a result. This should be positive not only for the growth of the country’s capital markets but for the economy in general.

PSE is well known for being a technology-led company; indeed new systems are being installed in the exchange before the end of 2017. How will this new technology enable you to future-proof the business?

In 2015, PSE changed its trading engine to a more robust platform. We expect to implement a new front-end system before the end of 2017 which would incorporate new and enhanced features for trading. This new system would also greatly improve and expand our capability to handle online trading which is the fastest growing segment of our market. On another front, we have also commenced the short-listing and evaluation of providers for a new clearing and settlement system. As we strive to attract the younger generation of investors, we will continue to introduce mobile platforms and mechanisms as this is one sure way of expanding our market base all over the country.

But outside of these front-facing systems, a critical aspect of our technology activities is focused on the importance of protecting our technologies from external threats by employing the latest and most appropriate IT security systems, and by making sure all our processes are backed up in line with business continuity objectives.

Is the PSE on the acquisition trail?

It is important for a market like the Philippines to have an exchange that is both efficient and at par with its peers in terms of product offering. This is the motivation behind our decision to acquire the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. (PDS) which currently operates the fixed income exchange and the depository for both equities and fixed income instruments. We are working closely with our regulators to get this acquisition done soon.

As a corporate entity, we continue to be on the lookout for possible new acquisitions that would contribute to the growth of the company and the capital markets. Outside of this transaction, I think the better characterisation of how we have been engaging with other stakeholders is one of cooperation and exchange of knowledge with our counterparts in the region.

What’s your vision for the PSE?

The Philippine economy is poised to continue on its high growth trajectory and it is imperative that PSE is not only able to achieve the same if not higher growth, but be a positive contributor to this favourable macroeconomic environment. I believe that PSE is in a good position to accelerate our target of becoming a world-class exchange. This vision of a bigger exchange must of course be built on sound corporate governance and this will be our guiding post in crafting our expansion plans and programs. For me personally, by the end of my term, I would like to see substantial growth of PSE in terms of more products, more listed companies especially SMEs, and more participating retail investors. I think this is where PSE can play a key role in inducing more growth on the economy.