Yap is new PSE chairman

- Christina Mendez, Conrado Diaz Jr. -

Veteran stockbroker Felipe Yap, who first gained prominence as a leader in the mining industry, overwhelmingly won the nod of Philippine Stock Exchange members yesterday to lead the new board of governors.

Yesterday's election results showed Yap, who represents his own F. Yap Securities Inc., garnered the most number of votes among the 20 broker-candidates and was unchallenged in the post of chairman.

As the new PSE chairman, Yap replaces Ma. Trinidad Kalaw of First Orient Securities, whose term was capped by the controversy over gaming stock BW Resources. It will now be up to the new board under Yap to tackle the BW issue, which was a major factor that hung over the election proceedings.

Rallying behind salvaging the bourse's tainted image due to the BW scandal, Yap's team -- the only group that fielded a solid slate -- practically completed a sweep of the 12 available sets for brokers.

Yap got a total of 106 votes or 81 percent of the 131 brokers present during the elections, which was also the PSE's annual membership meeting. The attendance comprised 77 percent of total active membership.

Following behind, in order, were Ang Biao (Francis Chua) of BA Securities with 100 votes; David Go of David Go Securities Corp. (97 votes); Gregorio Kilayko of ABN-Amro Asia Securities (86 votes); Vivian Yuchengco of First Resources Management & Securities Corp. (86 votes); Joseph Madrid of Merrill Lynch Securities (83 votes); Edgardo Guevarra of Intra-Invest Securities (82 votes); Filomeno Francisco of Anscor Hagedorn Securities (79 votes); and re-electionists Edwin Luy of Triton Securities (76 votes); and Francisco Villaroman of Securities Specialist (73 votes).

RTG & Co. Inc.'s Ramon Garcia and his namesake Ramon Garcia of Diversified Securities rounded up the 12 broker-governors with 70 and 63 votes, respectively. Both Garcias were the only independent candidates who made it to the new board.

Matthew Sutherland of Paribas Asia Equity was the only casually in Yap's ticket as he came up with 62 votes, just one vote shy of the last placed candidate.

The candidates who failed to make it to the new board were Nestor Aguila (Market Capital & Securities; Don Calderon (AllAsia Securities Management Corp.); Augusto Cosio (PNB Securities); Edward Go (Investors Securities Inc.); Rogildo Lara (Unicapital Securities Inc.); Myron Papa (Papa Securities Corp.); and Katrina Ponce-Enrile (Jaka Securities Corp.),who had the least number of votes at eight.

Aside from Yap, the new board elected Guevarra as secretary; the older Garcia as assistant secretary; Lucy as treasurer; and Ang Biao as assistant treasurer.

The BOG is composed of 12 broker-nominees elected annually by the active broker-members at the PSE. The elected governors then appoint three non-members into the board for a fixed three year term, one of them eventually winds up as the Exchange's president and CEO. A broker-governor can be re-elected only once, which means they can only serve two consecutive terms.

Equally interesting was on the part of the non-member brokers, wherein the three serving governors--PSE president Jose Luis Yulo, Vicente Jayme and Margarito Teves -- were voted back, as a formality, by the members with respective votes of 54, 78 and 81. An appointed non-member only needs a single vote to affirm his tenure.

Former Finance Minister Jayme and former Congressman Teves will continue to serve out the remaining two years of their terms while Yulo's term will be expiring on April 30 this year. Until such time, the new board may decide to renew his term or replace him.

But since the explosive report prepared by the Compliance and Surveillance Group headed by PSE vice president Ruben Almadro came out in mid-February, there have been speculations that the PSE management team led by Yulo would also be overhauled as some influential brokers have reportedly been keeping up the pressure for them to leave the Exchange, apparently due to the broker's displeasure over management's handling of the BW case.

Reports that circulated during the elections pointed to Monico Jacob as a likely replacement for Yulo, although Yap and the new board would not immediately confirm this.

Jacob, a former associate commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Pag-IBIG Fund CEO and Petron Corp. president, presently sits in various corporate rehabilitation committees overseeing distressed companies such as Uniwide and Philippine Airlnes.

Former Board of Investments managing head and now Monetary Board member Melito Salazar Jr. is also reportedly being eyed as a possible governor in case Teves, a noted economist, gets appointed to head the powerful Economic Coordinating Council.

"We're going to sit down together with the board...we'll discuss our plan and then come up with a collective," Yap said in a brief five-minute press conference, mainly to introduce his new team which he described as "hardworking people, no secret about that."

Aside from heading his own F. Yap Securities Inc., Yap is a prime mover in the mining field as chairman of Lepanto Consolidated and Manila Mining, both publicly listed. He is also chief executive officer of Guoco Holdings and holds directorship in Manila Peninsula, South China Petroleum, Philippine Fire and Marine Insurance, Zeus Holdings and Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp.

A closed look at the new board shows that none of the stockbrokerage companies, nor the personalities are linked up to the BW mess.

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