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MANILA – The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. on Friday kicked-off the celebration for the 20th anniversary of the unification of the former Makati and Manila Stock Exchanges with a traditional bell ringing ceremony.
With the theme “PSE 20: Advancing Together for Progress,” the anniversary celebration will mark milestones, including the PSE's incorporation on July 14, 1992; the declaration of unification between the old Manila and
Makati bourses into the PSE on December 23, 1992; and the first general membership meeting of the PSE held on March 20, 1993.
The PSE's first Bell Awards for corporate governance, which will recognize trading participants and listed firms subscribing to high standards of corporate governance, will culminate the celebration.
The local bourse traces its roots to 1927 when a group of American and Filipino businessmen formed the Manila Stock Exchange in the financial district of Binondo. In 1963, a second bourse was established in the newly developed financial area in Makati.
At present, 254 listed companies are traded at the PSE, where average daily value turnover stood at P7.63 billion as of July 24. Total market capitalization reached P9.99 trillion as of July 24. The bourse has 184 trading
participants, of which 133 are active.
"The PSE has come a very long way since the day of its incorporation on July 14, 1992 that paved the way for a unified stock exchange. Today, we have an Exchange that has fully opened up to the world with longer trading hours and a state-of-the-art trading system which can accommodate more product offerings and increased trading volumes. With these reforms and a number of initiatives under way, investors have rewarded the stock market with greater confidence and record-breaking levels," Jose T. Pardo, PSE chairman, said.
The PSE composite index or PSEi has closed at new record highs 21 times so far this year, with the latest all-time high of 5,369.98 on July 5.
Other milestones the PSE will commemorate are the following:
- Grant of self-regulatory organization license by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1998;
- Demutualization on August 3, 2001; and
- Public listing on December 15, 2003.
"Improving investor perception, not only in the stock market, but also Philippines, Inc. has been quite a challenge. The Philippine capital markets have had their share of negative stories that discourage people from
investing. In the past few years, however, we've been focused on instilling an image of a market that is more transparent and that practices good governance and slowly but surely, investors - both new and old - are coming
in," said Hans B. Sicat, PSE president.
"We have delisted delinquent companies, reinstated minimum public ownership limits and penalized erring trading participants prior to the creation of the Capital Markets Integrity Corporation to send the message that PSE is serious in its drive to promote the stock market as a viable investment destination. The Exchange has also stepped up the improvement of our services - enhancing operational efficiency, market education events, and upgraded its technology to assist investors," he added.
In recent years, the PSE has modernized through the acquisition of a state-of-the-art trading system in 2010 and the move to extend trading hours early in 2012, thus increasing trading volumes.
Come December, the bourse will make mark another first, with the conferment of the PSE Bell Awards, which will recognize listed companies and trading participants that subscribe to high standards of transparency and corporate governance.
"We started this by encouraging listed companies to adhere to transparent and full disclosure of their actions and plans as well as imbibe the practice of acknowledging the rights of minority shareholders. Our initiatives are now bearing fruit and with that, we will be more encouraged to do more on this front," Sicat said.
To commemorate its unification story, the PSE has lined up a number of activities for the remainder of the year. "Through the commemoration, we communicate to the public the importance of having a vibrant stock market as a driver of economic growth. We have already launched last month an education campaign called SiningPSE, which takes the form of a nationwide art competition for amateur artists," Sicat said.
"We are also in the process of improving our participation in corporate social responsibility activities by designing a project geared towards educating our youth about the financial market. And to cap off our celebrations, we shall be holding a thanksgiving dinner and the first PSE Bell Awards at the end of the year," he added.
The PSE will commemorate its 20th year amid difficult challenges in the global economic environment. "We continue to adapt and innovate amid the changing domestic and global investment landscape. While our initiatives are meant to address liquidity and broaden the depth of the market, we recognize that there are more
challenges ahead as we compete against other markets in the region and in the world. With the recent performance of our market, we have definitely shed the tag, 'the sick man of Asia'," said Pardo.
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