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TOAP 2013 Convention Raises the Bar

(Article Published in the April 25,2013 issue of Business Mirror)

       The Trust Officers Association of the Philippines (TOAP) annual convention had always been from way back the late 70s a must-attend event for trust people

       Sometimes the convention was memorable by accident, as when it coincided with the Bancap crisis that ill-starred three lovely women, of wile and guile, who were able to mesmerize ordinarily cold treasury bankers. At other times, it was by memorable by design, as when TOAP deliberately made sure it was among the first in the banking industry to hail the changing, not of ceremonial guards but rather of the crucial decision-makers, at the Bangko Sentral.

       The 2013 TOAP Convention, held at the Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa from April 12 to 14, was no different. It was the joint labour of love of Ms. Pat Alvarillo, of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank and director and the chairperson of TOAP’s Special Events as well as of Convention Co-chairs Messers. Leo dela Cruz of Security Bank and Tony Danao of the Bank of Commerce. The attending trust practitioners were treated to a procession of light and shadow, of socials and seriousness, of things to remember and things to do, and of moving fearlessly forward and staying anchored to the essence of their trust mission.

       The convention followed the order suggested by the ancient adage, mens sana in corpore sano. Loosely translated, a sound mind needs to be in a sound body.

       After everyone had arrived in tranches on the first day, April 12, and after the usual invocation before dinner by the resident prayer leader, Leo dela Cruz and the standard welcome remarks by TOAP president Raffy Ayuste, corpore sano was the theme of the evening.

       Ms. Maite Toledo, who just last December ended a long career in the corporate world of trusts, warned against the ingestion of harmful synthetic chemicals, which are disguised by some pharmaceutical companies as medicine. She advocated, instead, the taking of natural foods.

       She was seconded by Mr. Marvin Fausto, a TOAP past president and himself a corporate officer of long duration. Marvin for his part shared the methodology of good exertion, by running correctly, regularly, and at the right places. I breathed a sigh of thanks that he was not at the most recent Boston race; I would not be surprised if he had joined instead London’s.

       After the first day’s corpore sano, mens sana was the theme of the second day. TOAP director Ms. Joy Cervero of the Land Bank of the Philippines set the tone by invoking the guidance of the gracious heavens and by waking love of country by singing the national anthem. Philippine Bank of Communication’s Mr. Raul Diaz, TOAP Vice President, gave the opening remarks, outlining the topics for the long day.

       Ms. Luisa O. Nieva, head of the Trust Specialist Group at the Bangko Sentral’s Supervision and Examination Sector, jumped straight ahead into deep intellectual waters by expounding on the soon to be implemented Trust Rating System. Deserving a more detailed treatment which I intend to give in future pieces, the new rating system, suffice it to relate at this time, has the intent of ensuring that trust entities, individually are and the industry as a whole is, at all times, to borrow the name of a top selling product of one of my clients, fit and right.

       Prior to another deep sea dive that was expected to be executed by Dr. Noet Ravalo, managing director of the Bangko Sentral, I was asked to provide, as in heavy Shakespearean plays, the comic relief. I gladly obliged by suggesting some unorthodox ways of how the trust departments could cope up with the revenue regulations (like RR 14-2012) that have been recently coming out from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue’s office.

       Dr. Ravalo, his mien as serious as his topic, talked on on-coming policies and initiatives at the Bangko Sentral. He clearly had the full support of his boss, Deputy Governor Nesting Espenilla whose short remarks made more urgent, now more than ever, Raffy Ayuste’s drive to get the trust industry to re-invent itself in order to adjust to the new normal.

       To its comfort, the Philippine trust industry enjoys the full support of software, hardware, data and service providers, many of whom were its convention partners. Among them are Infoserve, Credence Analytics, SS&C, Sopra Banking Software, Sunguard, Factset, Bloomberg as well as Atlas Mining, RG Assets, Maybank (ATR Kim Eng), BA Securities, Inc, COL Financial Clients, ING.

       The event could not have been the success it was were it not for the tireless devotion of everyone else in the Convention Committee. Mention need be made of PNB’s Kay Pagal, Dennis Elayda, Nerisse Davivas; of Ryan Sinoan of RCBC and of Sharon Cruz of the TOAP secretariat.

       Undoubtedly, the 2013 TOAP Convention is going to be an act very hard to follow; but with Raffy Ayuste still at the helm, TOAP’s convention next year, I am certain, will not fail to raise the standard a few notches even higher.

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