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ACI Philippines on Track for 45th World Congress

ACI Philippines says that its preparations for the 45th World Congress of ACI â?” The Financial Markets Association remains on course. The conference is due to take place May 25 to 27 in Manila. There was a period of concern in mid-February when the Philippines Government declared a state of emergency following demonstrations calling for the resignation of the President but ACI Philippines assures members that its plans for the Congress are unchanged.

“As news reports often do, they tend to dramatise events,” said Jose Emmanuel Hilado, president of ACI Philippines and Jose Arnulfo Villoso, chairman of the congress organising committee in a letter to ACI members. “[In February] the Philippines celebrated the peaceful 1986 People Power Revolution that removed former President Ferdinand Marcos from office and led to the restoration of democracy in our country. Certain personalities who oppose the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attempted to leverage this opportunity to pressure the President to step down by generating popular demand for her to do so.

“However, although some of these individuals and their colleagues conducted rallies protesting the administration, they did not receive broad popular support,” the letter states. “The military demonstrated respect for civilian authority. We do not expect these circumstances to change based on historical precedent, as well as developments today.”

Although there was some initial weakness in Philippine financial markets following the initial announcement, markets recovered losses within days as the situation reverted to normal. The state of emergency was lifted on March 3.

“Our plans for the conduct of the ACI Congress therefore remain unchanged, and we look forward to an extremely successful meeting and to interacting with you during the networking and social events,” the letter concluded.

Rising to the Challenge

The Congress theme is ’Rising to the Challenge’, and the organising committee has put together a high powered list of speakers and delegates. None other than the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will make the opening keynote address.

The Congress will also feature several other notable officials, inlcuding the welcome remarks from the Governor of the Philippines central bank, the Honourable Amando Tetangco; as well as Margarito Teves, Secretary to the Department of Finance in the Philippines, who will introduce the nation’s president. Following the keynote, Michael Powell, head of global markets at HSBC, will discuss “From Queens Road to Canary Wharf: Lessons from Asia”, before the exhibition is formally opened.

The first panel discussion is entitled, “Rationalising Credit Rating Agencies” and delegates will hear from Stephen Taran, managing director, Citigroup Global Markets; Stephen Long, head of credit rating advisory at JP Morgan; James McCormack, senior director and head of Asia sovereign ratings, Fitch Ratings; and Max Schieler, head of country risk analysis, UBS. The panel will be moderated by Cezar Consing of TRG Management, Hong Kong.

The conversation will then move on to what will undoubtedly be a hot topic, “Post-Greenspan: Impact of Global Interest Rates and Capital Markets”. Lito Camacho, vice-chairman for non-Japan Asia at Credit Suisse will moderate three panelists: Michael Spencer, chief economist for Asia and head of global market research at Deutsche Bank; Timothy Teo, director of foreign exchange, Government of Singapore Investment Corp (GSIC); and Don Hanna, global head of emerging markets economic and market analysis at Citigroup.

In a change to the usual programme at ACI Congresses, the Association’s General Assembly closes out the business programme for Friday.

Saturday opens with a panel of the FX markets entitled, “Evolution of Currencies: Fixed to Floating/National to Regional”. William Pesek, a columnist for Bloomberg, will moderate Dr Andrew Ferris, chief economist for Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas; Richard Yetsenga, currency strategist at HSBC; John Kontopoulos, chief global FX strategist at Merrill Lynch; and Tarun Anand, global head of treasury services at Reuters.

Closing out the panel sessions is a discussion on one of the major issues facing our industry, as David Clark, honorary president of ACI, moderates “Adopting Basel II: Changing Financial Markets Landscape”. Panellists for this discussion are Eli Remolona, head of financial markets at the Bank for International Settlements; Nestor Espenilla, head of financial markets at the Philippine Central Bank and Loh Boon Chye, head of global markets, Asia, at Deutsche Bank.

The business sessions are closed out by a keynote address, appropriately enough entitled “Rising to the Challenge”, from Kevan Watts, chairman of Merrill Lynch International.

Full details of the programme for the 45th World Congress of ACI; The Financial Markets Association are available from the ACI Website, www.aciforex.com or from the ACI Philippines website, www. Aciphils.com.

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