The Shareholders Association of the Philippines

By John Mangun
14 March 2018  |   Business Mirror

This past Monday I attended an event hosted by the Shareholders Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL), titled “Cryptocurrency: The Truth & the Myth”.

The speakers included Nico Jose “Nix” Nolledo, chairman and CEO, Xurpas; Nichel Gaba, CEO, Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX); and Ephyro Luis Amatong, commissioner, Securities and Exchange Commission. The keynote address was delivered by the Honorable Nestor A. Espenilla Jr., Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor.

While following SharePHIL since its inception several years ago, I am skeptical of people with a “car and driver” looking out for the interests of other people that have to park their own cars. Of course, that is an unfair exaggeration, but experience teaches us that it is prudent to ask, “What’s in it for you?” or me for that matter.

The officers of SharePHIL include individuals that I have known for 20 years and more. This could be an “Old Boys’ Club” inside the “Old Boys’ Club” of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). But I also know that these men and women have dedicated their professional careers to making a positive difference.

My suggestion would be that SharePHIL focuses more on the specific issues that the PSE has not effectively addressed to protect shareholder interests. However, that may be an incorrect perception of someone on the outside looking in.

Therefore, I am becoming a member of SharePHIL and I strongly encourage you to do the same if you are a local stock-market investor. Let me rephrase that. I insist you join SharePHIL because I hear too many complaints about the PSE. It is time to put your “money where your mouth is” on the investor issues that affect all of us. Together, through SharePHIL, positive changes can be realized. So, no more complaining without action. Start here:

What are cryptocurrencies? Who knows and who cares. Just buy, buy and buy some more, and become a millionaire. Right?

Even after studying the topic for several months, it took Nix Nolledo about 30 minutes to bring me up to speed and that surprised me since I am a dinosaur. In full disclosure, I have been initiating negotiations to do some business with his company Xurpas.

One takeaway is that the “hype” about cryptos may be greater than the reality of ownership and trading. You may be surprised to learn that the total current value of all cryptos is less than twice the total value of all issues on the PSE. However, crypto “tokens” are at about the same stage of development as the electric light was 100 years ago.

Governor Espenilla’s presentation was thorough and knowledgeable. He is carrying on the legacy of the Philippines having the best central bank governors on earth. In summary, the BSP is open to new ideas and financial products. But, in the words of John Wayne, “Young fella, if you’re looking for trouble, I’ll accommodate you.”

While other nations’ regulators are sticking their heads in the sand by allowing an anything goes environment or sticking their heads in the sand by stopping everything connected with cryptos—China has done both—ours are trying to be proactive.

SEC Commissioner Amatong echoed the BSP, basically saying, “We already have a rule book. It’s called the Securities Regulation Code. Follow it.” Crypto tokens have been classified as a security until Congress changes the law. However, the US is regulating cryptocurrencies as a commodity, so the story is not over.

Congratulations are in order to SharePHIL Chairman Evelyn R. Singson and President Atty. Francisco Ed. Lim (yes, the former president of the PSE) for their successful efforts. I eagerly await the next SharePHIL event. Be there.

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