2014 Outlook, part 6By Randell Tiongson on January 14th, 2014
It is always a pleasure to present the views of one of the persons I admire a lot, a former colleague and now the CEO of the country’s largest life insurance company, Riza Gervasio Mantaring. A marathon runner, Riza’s disciplined approach in life helped her propel Sun Life to the top spot. I also admire Ms. Mantaring’s passion to help improve the nation’s financial literacy through many endeavors.
The 2014 Outlook of Riza Mantaring
2013 was the proverbial “start with a bang, end with a whimper” year. While fundamentals in the Philippines remained solid, changes in the external environment dragged the market down so that we basically ended the year back where we started.
So as we start 2014, to what do we have to look forward?
The first half of the year is likely to be volatile as the US winds down its economic stimulus program given its improving economy. Performance of its equity markets in 2013 has been stellar, reflecting the outflow of funds from developing economies back to the more developed markets.
Inflation may creep upwards, possibly curbing spending which has been driving our economy. In terms of public spending, government rehabilitation efforts in quake and typhoon-hit areas may somewhat offset the withdrawal of the PDAF and DAP, and hopefully PPP projects finally get underway at the pace necessary to sustain growth.
With an expectation of higher inflation, we may see local bond rates continue to creep up. Likewise, with a weaker earnings growth expectation from the banking sector, we are anticipating lower aggregate earnings growth for the market.
Still, despite a possibly volatile first half of 2014, the second half of the year should be more positive as we get better indicators on company earnings growth and the progress of government infrastructure spending. Longer term, the Philippines remains a favored destination and is forecast to continue its rapid growth over the next few years.
As to where the market will end? We expect a base scenario of 6500 for the Phisix, possibly reaching 6800. Remember, though, that the best time to buy is when the news is negative, not when it is positive!
Riza Mantaring is the President & CEO of the Sun Life Financial group of companies in the Philippines, and a member of its various boards.She started out in Information Technology and took on various roles through her 20+ years at Sun Life before becoming CEO.
Riza is a member of the Sun Life Asia Leadership Team. She has also participated in various international special projects and teams such as the task force for worldwide restructuring of the company, the task force for business processes, and special teams for Mergers & Acquisitions.
In 2010, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the University of the Philippines College of Engineering, she was selected one of the 100 Most Outstanding Alumni of the past century. In 2011, she was named by Moneysense Magazine one of the 12 Most Influential in Personal Finance, and became a recipient of the 2011 CEO EXCEL award given by the International Association of Business Communicators. Riza was recognized for bold and innovative programs and harnessing the power of communication to implement these programs, including the multi-awarded and pioneering “It’s Time!” financial literacy advocacy.
Riza graduated with a B.S. Electrical Engineering degree (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines, and an M.S. Computer Science from the State University of New York at Albany. She has also attended numerous executive development programs conducted by Harvard University, The Wharton School, Duke University, Oxford University, Asian Institute of Management, and The Niagara Institute. She is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (with distinction).
She has been a board director of the Philippine Life Insurance Association since 2011 and is currently its Treasurer, and served as a board director of the Philippine Federation of Pre-need Companies from 2006-2008.