February 4, 2022San Miguel Corporation (SMC) affiliate Bank of Commerce (BankCom) grew its assets under management (AUM) to P63 billion in 2021, exceeding targets and improving by 63% over the previous year. This, as the bank strengthened its retail investor client base and pushed for wider access to low-risk and medium-to-long term investments. Bank of Commerce president Michelangelo Aguilar said the increase in AUM, which was 5% higher than the bank’s initial P60 billion target, is attributed to the robust performance of its Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs) and Investment Management Accounts (IMA), as clients sought more conservative products to better cover for future contingencies similar to the pandemic. “We saw a 126% increase year-on-year in AUM for UITFs. Likewise, IMAs, which cater to clients with substantial funds looking for higher yields such as through bonds, common or preferred shares, grew 65% year-on-year,” Aguilar said. “Our efforts to align our investment products with our customers’ needs, enabling them to maximize their revenue potential as we ensure the success of our portfolio, were key factors to our strong performance,” he added. Meanwhile, BankCom’s Other Fiduciary Activities (OFA) business for corporate clients looking to tap the investing public for capital, rose 49% year-on-year. As of the end of September 2021, BankCom ranked 9th among universal, commercial and thrift banks in terms of AUM, rising from 11th place the previous year. Over a four-year period from 2018-2021, the bank’s AUM grew at 103%, with a better than industry compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13%. SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang added that the bank’s strong showing in investment products is one way BankCom is fulfilling SMC’s mandate to all its businesses to support the economy and help more Filipinos in this time of pandemic. “We have seen the many impacts of the pandemic on our economy, on businesses, and our everyday lives. We need to continue finding ways to help more people become resilient and make smarter financial decisions,” Ang said. “SMC’s businesses are all geared towards improving the lives of Filipinos, whether it’s providing high-quality, affordable products, or building infrastructure to stimulate and sustain economic growth. Banking and financial services are also an important area of focus for us, that is why we’re leaning more heavily on Bank of Commerce to provide smart financial solutions, whether for ordinary Filipinos or larger corporate clients,” Ang added. Recently, the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas granted the upgrade of status of Bank of Commerce from Commercial Bank to Universal Bank, subject to certain regulatory requirements. This is seen to allow BankCom to offer a wider variety of services to more clients, particularly debt and equity securities. The bank is also looking to expand portfolio through more product alliances with third-party institutions. Aguilar believes Filipino investors will remain cautious in 2022 and prefer government securities and instruments issued by credit-worthy companies with strong and consistent cashflows. “Attuned to the current risk appetite of our clients, we will continue to grow our AUM by providing them with quality short- or long-term investment opportunities through products and services catering to their financial goals,” Aguilar said.