The banking outlook for 2012 includes stable credit growth, ample liquidity, and low market interest rates.
Financial Services in the Philippines
ξ The Philippines presents opportunities for financial and professional services across various
sectors. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in also located in Manila, presenting
aid-funded business opportunities not just for the Philippines but other regional markets.
The banking sector has remained strong despite the global crisis. This has been backed by
increased promotion of good corporate governance, transparency practices and upgrading of risk
management standards, The past year was characterised by increased deposits, lending, high
capital adequacy ratios, and year-on-year growth of all banking resources. At the end of 2011,
the Philippines’ Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recorded 38 universal and commercial banks,
71 thrift banks, and 617 rural banks.
The banking outlook for 2012 includes stable credit growth, ample liquidity, and low market
The Philippine banking system is dominated by local banks, including top players Banco de Oro
(BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), and Metrobank. BPI have their European
headquarters in the UK, with full branch operations in London. All three reported double digit
growth in 2011.
Citibank is considered the largest foreign commercial bank in the Philippines in terms of
customers, assets and revenues. UK banks HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) are also
active in the Philippines, both operating for over 100 years.
Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) established its headquarters in Manila in 1966. Its
partnership with the Philippines includes lending to develop the areas of infrastructure,
environment, education and public sector management, including on-going support towards the
Philippines’ PPP agenda.
The number of Filipinos with insurance is currently estimated at only above 10% of the
population. The Philippines’ insurance industry is supervised by the Insurance Commission
based on the guidelines of the country’s Insurance Code.
There are no foreign restrictions for the insurance industry in the Philippines.
There are a number of foreign firms present in the Philippines operating with affiliate firms. UK
based advisory firms Ernst & Young, PWC, and Grant Thornton are active in the Philippines, as
are international firms such as KPMG, Deloitte, Baker McKenzie and others.
UK based professional services companies are part of the panel of transaction advisers accredited
by the Philippines government to tap for the review of PPP projects. Law firm Pinsent Masons
recently won the tender for international legal consultants to the International Finance
Corporation (IFC). This will be for the delivery of the US$1.5 billion Manila Light Rail Transit
project, a PPP project of the Philippine government.
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is also active in the Philippines,
providing training and accreditation for financial services professionals. The International
Governance and Risk Institute (GovRisk) will conduct training to implement Anti Money
There are factors and trends affecting the sector including:
ξ the role of technology and recognition of the need for e-banking for increased financial
ξ Islamic banking is a niche segment that has potential for development.
ξ Retail banking continues to be an active segment with the growth of consumer loans,
including credit card usage.
In terms of banking, business opportunities for UK companies exist in the provision of banking
hardware, software, and related solutions. These may include those with retail banking
applications; as well as training and accreditation for finance professionals.
The constitution restricts any foreign equity in the practice of professions including accountancy
and law. However, opportunities exist for affiliations or partnership with local firms. The
Philippine government’s PPP programme also presents opportunities for UK advisory firms to
offer services to infrastructure companies or partner with local companies for government
With the Asian Development Bank (ADB), opportunities exist for provision of goods and
consulting services for projects across the region. Core operational areas include infrastructure
(including transport and communications, energy, water supply, sanitation, and urban
development), environment, education, finance sector development, and regional co-operation
Latest export opportunities in the Financial and Professional Services sector
Latest export opportunities in the Philippines
Getting into the market
ξ Doing business in the Philippines is highly relational. Formal and personal introductions
would be a preferred way to enter the market, as would partnerships with established local
ξ Appointments are required and should be made at least two weeks in advance.
ξ English is the language of business in the Philippines.
ξ Experience of doing business in the region or in markets with similar demographics.
ξ The Philippine government encourages inbound foreign investment, designating economic
zones and offering a wide range of incentives.
Find general information on the Philippine market conditions on UKTI’s website.
More about doing business in the Philippines gives an overview of the Philippines’ economy,
business culture, potential opportunities and an introduction to other relevant issues.
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
ξ Joyce Guzon Tolentino, British Embassy Manila.
Tel: +63 2 858-2263
Contact your local international trade team
Aid Funded Business Opportunities Seminar
29 October 2012 (TBC) / London
Contact: Fidel Ventura, Asian Development Bank Liaison, British Embassy Manila
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events in Financial and Professional Services sector
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters