Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Delivering Stories of Progress


PH, World’s prominent tech and innovation leaders converge for World Fintech Festival

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By Alithea De Jesus

Technology is here to stay and set to play a vital role in the business and economy not just this time of the pandemic, but more so during the post-pandemic scenario.

From December 7-11, the World Fintech Festival (WFF) the much anticipated will be bringing together illustrious personalities like Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, Eric Yuan, and PH business tech leaders UnionBank Vice-Chairman Tito Ortiz, Lazada President and CEO Ray Alimurung in the same virtual convention and more.

While it will be conducted virtually, the WFF-Philippines is the globalized version of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF), the most prestigious event in the fintech industry which in 2019 drew 60,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state, policymakers, and financial and technology (fintech) leaders.

Organized by Geiser-Maclang Communications Inc. (GMCI), in partnership with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the SFF, the WFF-Philippines is the first in the country.

At the recent WFF-Philippines press conference, SFF and WFF CFO Sopnendu Mohanty explained the importance of connecting local businesses with their global colleagues. He said, “The digital platform is the first step for these entrepreneurs to succeed. The whole set of tech enables services for the MSMEs to grow. That’s the new world.”

WFF Philippines Convenor and GeiserMaclang Co-founder Amor Maclang, who will also be a speaker, emphasized that “The WFF-Philippines is the beginning of a movement to call the industry players and other stakeholders to digitize our country, especially using fintech, towards progress and development, using a whole-of-nation approach, whole-of-government approach. The past few years have seen an unprecedented reverse diaspora of the best and brightest technology players choosing to domicile in the Philippines. It is our time to shine.”

From the international arena, leading the discussion on how to leverage game-changing trends in fintech are legends like Bill Gates, the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Eric Yuan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Zoom Video Communications, Inc.; Akon, Founder of Akoin; NASDAQ President and CEO Adrena Friedman; Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella; Nandan Nikelani, Infosys Co-founder and Chairman; and Dan Schulman, President and CEO of Paypal, just for a start.

NASDAQ President and CEO Adrena Friedman will talk about how technology is shaping the future of capital markets. NASDAQ, a global electronic marketplace, provides hundreds of businesses around the world the opportunity to invest in or trade among listed companies.

Like NASDAQ, cryptocurrency company Akoin empowers both ends of the marketplace from buyers to sellers. Founded by Senegalese-American star and philanthropist Akon, it bridges the gap between international investors and Africa’s entrepreneurs struggling against inflation. The culmination is a $6 billion futuristic city at the heart of Senegal, Africa. 

BlackRock’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO Larry Fink will reveal a global CEO’s perspective on leadership, inclusion, and diversity. With a total of $7.4 trillion in assets under management, his 2018 letter, sent to CEOs of the companies BlackRock has invested in, encouraged them to make positive societal contributions.

Joining the WFF-Philippines to cement the industry’s digital global footprint are the country’s leading tech disruptors who have created massive ripples of change within their industries.




WFF’s first day will banner how digitization can transform a nation. The luminaries in the dif
ferent panels include Mynt President and CEO Martha Sazon; and Commissioner Dennis Funa of the Philippine Insurance Life Commission.

The second day’s forums will center on digitizing the country and the rise of e-commerce. Speakers include Lazada President and CEO Rey Alimurung and GreatDeals CEO Steven Sy.

Halfway through the convention, hot topics like financial inclusion, data privacy, and the need for a regulatory framework shall be discussed by speakers Commissioner Raymund Liboro of the National Privacy Commission; Anton Bonifacio, Chief Information Officer of Globe; Rajan ‘Piku’ Uttamchandani, Esquire Financing Chairman and CEO; Roy Miclat, 1 Cooperative Insurance President and CEO; and Atty. J.J. Disini, Managing Partner of the Disini Law Office.

Two speakers will be sharing their insights on technology’s impact on their industries:  Atty. Mark Gorriceta, Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra’s Managing Partner, on the legal tech industry; and Noel Bonoan, President and COO of auditing firm KPMG, on the importance of artificial intelligence for accounting and law firms. All these shall be followed by talks on what investors are looking for, led by Minette Navarette, Vice Chair and CEO of Kickstart; CEO Ron Hose and Mica Tan, President and CEO, MFT Group of Companies.

On the fifth and last day of the WFF-Philippines, attendees will get useful pointers about becoming digital superstars, relevant fintech verticals, and industries on their way to transformation. These topics will be led by Ayala Corporation’s Managing Director, CHRO & Group Head, Corporate Resources JP Orbeta; AC Education’s CEO Fred Ayala; AC Healthcare’s President and CEO Paolo Borromeo; Rain Hermans, President and CEO of Singlife; and Globe’s President and CEO Ernest Cu.

Boxing legend and legislator Manny Pacquiao will talk about his latest tech venture, PacPay, a digital payment platform that facilitates cross-border transactions and launched the cryptocurrency known as “Pac Tokens.”

WFF-Philippines Convenor and GMCI Co-founder Amor Maclang believes the collaboration among local tech giants will trigger a reverse diaspora. She foresees that the “rising tech hubs in the near future will bring them back home—where they can contribute their talents and their time, advance a career and build businesses while enjoying a happy and prosperous life with their families. It is a vision that technology can help us reach.”

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