Beauty Pageant Head Elected President of Philippine Bourse

  • Ramon Monzon pledges to speed unification with bond exchange
  • He has been an independent director of bourse since 2015

The Philippine stock exchange’s new president, Ramon Monzon, pledged to reduce brokers’ ownership of the bourse, refine rules on short-selling and introduce structured warrants.

Speaking to reporters after his election was announced, Monzon said he’s also working to remove hurdles for Philippine Stock Exchange Inc.’s purchase of bond-exchange operator Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp., a deal first proposed in 2013.

“The biggest challenge we are facing right now is getting regulatory approval for the purchase,” he said in Manila.

Monzon, 67, is an accountant who worked as a partner at SGV & Co. and is chairman and president of Carousel Productions Inc., which owns and runs the Miss Earth beauty contest. He’s been an independent director of the exchange since May 2015 and also sits on the board of Philippine Dealing.

“New issues could be introduced given his background as accountant and PSE’s independent director,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director of First Grade Holdings Inc. in Manila. “He might be geared toward helping minority investors and further stimulating the local market.”

The bourse is working to bring down brokers’ ownership in the exchange to 20 percent from around 28 percent, Monzon said at the press conference. Options being considered include convincing brokers to sell to non-brokers, private placements and offering preferred voting shares.

The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange Index has rallied 15 percent so far this year even as foreign funds have pulled a net $111 million from the nation’s shares.

Monzon replaces Hans Sicat, who exchange Chairman Jose Pardo said in March will now work on sealing the merger of the nation’s stocks and bond exchanges as head of the PDS. During Sicat’s tenure, the bourse extended trading hours, increased the number of online investors and listed companies, and forced them to comply with exchange rules.

(Adds performance of benchmark index in seventh paragraph. An earlier version of this story corrected the spellings of Hans Sicat and Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp.)
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