BDO Unibank soars at the Asian Banking and Finance Awards 2022

Its commitment to empowering clients and enhancing their wealth amidst uncertainties has become evident with its recent innovations.

BDO Unibank remained steadfast in its mission to empower clients to achieve their goals by preserving and enhancing their wealth despite the ever-changing and pandemic-influenced market landscape. As part of its commitment to delivering the best services to clients and enriching their experiences, the bank has significantly invested in its digital platform, communication tools, and cybersecurity.

The bank’s outstanding products and services and dedication to serving its clientele have earned recognition at the Asian Banking and Finance Awards 2022, as it won several awards from the award-giving body.

BDO Unibank has taken home the Wealth Management Platform of the Year - Philippines for the continued success of its private banking entity, BDO Private Bank, Marketing & Brand Initiative of the Year - Philippines for its digital campaign “Project Idol Online, under it’s rural bank subsidiary, BDO Network Bank”,  Financial Inclusion Initiative of the Year - Philippines for its financial education initiatives, and Investment Product Innovation of the Year - Philippines for its corporate retirement plan, BDO Pension 360. Meanwhile, its investment banking arm, BDO Capital & Investment, was honoured with both the Equity Deal of the Year - Philippines and Corporate & Investment Bank of the Year - Philippines for its solid track record in execution of deals in various industries.

The prestigious awards programme honours outstanding banks that have introduced groundbreaking banking solutions, products, and services that have proved to be game changers in the industry.

Amongst the bank’s biggest platforms today is the BDO Private Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary focused on private banking and wealth management. It has a unique business model focused on the high net worth and emerging wealthy market segments.

The platform provides an edge over its competitors as it delivers unique services on investments, wealth planning and structuring, liability management, and corporate and property administration. As of end-March 2022, BDO Private Bank had nearly 9,000 clients with an average client asset under management of US$881,000 (PHP49m). 

With this growth, the bank also aims to achieve strategic resilience by incorporating sustainability into the way it does business and by embedding sustainability principles when making decisions, assessing relationships, and creating products. This is amidst the growing need for environmental and social responsibility.

Building inclusive financial solutions

BDO Unibank also faced challenges in providing accessible and inclusive financial solutions to underserved and unbanked rural communities in the Philippines amidst the pandemic. This also resonated with their goal of standing out from competitors and being differentiated in terms of branding, target marketing, and positioning.

As such, BDO Network Bank launched its first institutional digital campaign, called "Project Idol Online," through its official Facebook page. The main insight of the campaign is that the rural and underserved may not be as adept at using financial technology tools, but they are primary users of free Facebook on mobile.

The bank’s strategy is to utilise this platform to communicate BDO Network Bank’s products and overall branding, as well as a tool to augment business objectives, despite limitations from the pandemic.

The campaign has been deemed innovative by Facebook, naming the bank as the industry benchmark for lead generation and conversational commerce. It provided awareness to the general public in the far-flung areas of the Philippines, which resulted in both account openings and loan applications for those who initially did not have access to basic banking services. This allowed many Filipinos access to key financial services, which helped improve their and their families’ lives.  

With the success of the campaign, the bank has decided to make it an annual project to assist business targets, lift brand love, and implement more innovations with Facebook, with the clear goal of providing banking services for the underserved and unbanked Filipinos.

Redefining corporate retirement planning

Whilst companies continue to enhance employee benefits programmes by setting up a formal corporate retirement plan, current plans only help companies with the basics of fulfilling compliance with the Retirement Pay Benefit Law. Employee engagement is oftentimes overlooked in retirement planning.

BDO Unibank innovated the existing employee benefit trust/retirement plan to deliver elevated investment solutions that can address these needs. It has introduced BDO Pension 360®, a first-of-its-kind comprehensive corporate retirement plan solution designed to help companies fulfil retirement benefit obligations efficiently, whilst encouraging greater loyalty from employees.

The plan features four key components: a corporate pension programme, a financial education programme, a personal pension plan, and a personal annuity plan.

Since the initial rollout, new retirement accounts opened increased by 56%. Client requests for learning sessions also kept coming in. By the end of 2021, around 1,700 employees were engaged during the 24 financial education sessions conducted.

“The holistic approach of BDO Pension 360® is seen as a valuable addition to making employee benefit programmes more compelling to attract top talents and boost employee engagement,” BDO Unibank said.

Helping Filipinos reach their financial goals

Meanwhile, BDO Unibank continues to advocate for financial inclusion growth in the Philippines through its dedicated team of certified investment trainers, providing free financial education and investment seminars to Filipinos despite the pandemic.

In 2021, BDO Trust conducted live and recorded webinars for possible investors and existing clients, as well as BDO personnel, on simple tips, benefits, and best practices when investing and introducing them to the relevant products and services that can help them achieve their financial goals.

The use of webinars allowed BDO Trust to reach over 2,500 participants across the country, as well as those based abroad. The bank further personalised the discussion depending on the experience of the target audience to make it more relevant and effective.

Through its advocacy to educate Filipinos, BDO is able to help promote social and economic inclusion in the country, thus helping the gradual improvement of Filipinos’ financial well-being.

Pushing through every obstacle

Despite the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented, the company’s investment banking arm, BDO Capital & Investment, remained competitive and retained its ability to adapt thanks to operational and organisational changes such as the establishment of operations in multiple locations and the successful adoption and integration of technology such as Zoom, MSTeams, and Webex.

For the past 23 years, the company has participated as either issue manager, lead underwriter, arranger, and/or book-runner for over ~US$205.9b (~PHP9.8t) in equities and fixed-income/debt issues. In particular, the debt capital market was dominated by three issuances by the Republic during the review period, generating PHP903b for government coffers that were used to finance government expenditures that supported sectors hit by the pandemic (unemployed, MSMEs, etc.).

BDO Capital & Investment has done the majority of the equity and debt fund-raising exercises of the Ayala Group, Aboitiz Group, San Miguel Group, Metro Pacific Group, Andrew Tan Group, and SM Group, a clear testimony of the unwavering trust and confidence that issuers put in the institution owing to its deep knowledge and experience in the market, unmatched placement capability, and wide distribution network.

Whilst the company possesses a solid track record in the origination and execution of deals, knowledge in various industries, and various optimal financing services, BDO Capital & Investment has been able to capture major deals thanks to its wide industry coverage and strong distribution capability provided by BDO’s nationwide branch network and SM’s strong network of investors, clients, and suppliers.

Distinguishing themselves as the top investment house amongst 25 active Philippine investment houses, BDO Capital & Investment remains a one-stop-shop that covers all aspects of a deal and goes the extra mile for clients, capitalising on the complementary strengths provided by its parent companies in terms of capital backing, distribution reach, clientele base, and industry position.

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