PH to showcase ‘fintech’ edge at WFF event

·3 min read

THE country is set to mark its digital footprint in the global scene as it joins the first World Fintech Festival (WFF) and will showcase its best financial technology (fintech) practices to an international audience.

In a five-day virtual WFF on December 7 to 11, this year’s WFF shall spotlight key executives and decision-makers from different Asian nations as they discuss how they pilot fintech to produce societal impacts.

Global tech legends like Bill Gates, Google chief executive officer (CEO) Sundar Pichai and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will broadcast their talks to WFF participants in 10 free sessions through YouTube and Facebook.

The WFF-Philippines, co-presented by Globe Telecom, is also intended to galvanize Philippine industries to accelerate their own adoption of fintech, be open to innovation, and invest in their workforce’s digital upskilling.

It is designed to bring together the public and private sector to help build inclusive digital economies.

During the virtual presser on November 18, 2020, Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said the country remained on the global radar, especially on the readiness of the nation’s fintech industry.

“The Philippines is the country that I will never ignore. You have a remarkable GDP (gross domestic product) and a fairly young demographic. The true test of a company’s strength comes from a crisis—and the businesses in the Philippines have truly demonstrated this,” he said.

A first in the country, the WFF-Philippines is organized by GeiserMaclang Marketing Communications Inc. in partnership with MAS and SingEx. It is expected to draw in the same crowds who attend the SFF, including business leaders and CEOs from 140 countries.

Industry leaders who will headline the WFF-Philippines were present during the virtual presser: Melchor Plabasan, director at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Martha Sazon, president and CEO of Mynt and chairman of the EMoney Association of the Philippines Inc.; Dr. Justo Ortiz, chairman of UnionBank of the Philippines and president of the Fintech Philippines Association; Noel Bonoan, KPMG vice chairman and chief operating officer; and lawyer Mark Gorriceta, managing partner of Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra.

WFF-Philippines convenor and GMCI’s co-founder Amor Maclang, who moderated the panel discussion, said the event can amplify the Philippines as a tech hub attractive to global investors.

“We are championing the Philippines, following in the footsteps of Singapore, as an incubator for technology and fintech. At the same time, tech is here to serve the underserved, the underbanked, and the undersheltered. Fintech has created opportunities for people on the spot,” said Maclang in a press release.

She cited the sari-sari stores and online entrepreneurial shops as examples of fintech’s inclusivity.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has also paved the way for the country to be more open when it comes to seamless and contactless payment behaviors.

The central bank’s data showed a surge in the use of internet banking, mobile apps, and services like Instapay and PesoNet during the pandemic.

“More than four million accounts were opened during the first two months of the lockdown. We recently crafted a three-year roadmap which aims to develop an efficient, safe, and secure digital-payment ecosystem. We aim to shift 50 percent of retail payments to online, and ensure that 70 percent of adult Filipinos will have access to digital accounts,” BSP director Melchor Plabasan said.

Martha Sazon, president and chief executive officer of Mynt, which manages the country’s leading mobile wallet app GCash among its innovations, revealed that one of the discoveries during the lockdown is the awareness of the younger generation.

“It is the younger generation who is most aware of their financial stability within this time. These things have pushed us to provide savings, credit and insurance, all within GCash. To date, we have gained 26 million GCash customers, which is 10 times higher than our monthly users in 2017,” she said. / JOB with PR

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