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Credit Suisse Widens Philippines Presence

Tom Burroughes

13 March 2019

has appointed Josephine Kee Hong S Yap as its chief representative in the Philippines, signalling the Swiss bank’s wealth management push in the country.

Yap will be based in Manila and will report to Christian Senn, market group head for the Philippines, Credit Suisse Private Banking Asia-Pacific. The bank created the representative office for its wealth management business in April last year after winning a licence from the Securities and Exchange Commission and gaining regulatory approval from Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. 

Yap has almost three decades of experience in the Philippines financial services industry. She joined Credit Suisse from Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company where she was most recently the head of Private Wealth Countryside, financial market sector, leading a team of senior relationship managers with respective regional coverage across the Philippines. Throughout her career at Metrobank, Josephine had extensive experience in bank branch management and operations.

“This set-up complements our existing footprint in the country across investment banking and capital markets and institutional brokerage businesses,” Yap said of her move.

The Zurich-listed bank has been advising the Philippines government and corporates in the country since 1992. In 2011, the bank established an onshore brokerage covering equity research, sales trading and execution, to run alongside its investment banking business.

The Philippines has been an active market for private client wealth management hires and moves in recent years, buoyed by an improving economic position. In April 2018, Credit Suisse won regulatory clearance to set up a representative office in the Philippines for its wealth management arm. In 2017, it appointed Michael De Guzman as country manager for Philippines and head of Philippines coverage for investment banking and capital markets. Christian Senn, a 30-year veteran of Credit Suisse’s private banking business, was also named as market group head for the Philippines in the Asian-Pacific part of the private bank, based in Singapore.

Citi Private Bank last October appointed Jørgen Weber Christensen as global market manager for the Philippines.

In November 2017, Bank J Safra Sarasin appointed Bellen Chang as a managing director for client advisory in its ultra-high net worth team, focusing on the Philippines. A number of the major banks have representative offices in the country, such as Singapore-based DBS; Bank of Singapore and United Overseas Bank. HSBC Private Banking has an office in the country; Standard Chartered’s private bank is also present in the country - in fact StanChart claims to be the oldest international bank in the jurisdiction, with a history there dating back to 1872.

In late June 2017, Manulife, the financial services group, said that one of its business arms has been given the green light to provide trust and fiduciary services business in the Philippines.

The country's economy was affected by the poor year for emerging markets in 2018 but its economy still grew last year. The Philippines GDP advanced by 1.6 per cent in the three months to December 2018 from the previous three months. It was the strongest quarterly growth rate since the third quarter of 2017.