The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) held a Pulong Saliksikan on Enhancing Access to Financial Services through a More Competitive Financial System on June 17, 2015, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Romulo Hall of NEDA sa Makati Bldg., 106 Amorsolo St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.

The presenter was Dr. Mario Lamberte, former President of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, former Director for Research of the Asian Development Bank Institute, and current Team Leader of Component 3 of the Advancing Philippine Competitiveness (COMPETE) Project of the United States Agency for International Development.

During the Pulong, Dr. Lamberte presented the results of the COMPETE project study that he conducted with Ms. Ammielou Q. Gaduena. In the study, they examined the role and contribution of the financial services sector in the economy, assessed the countrys commitments on the financial services sector under the ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) as well as the status of compliance, and analyzed the extent of the Philippine financial services sectors competitiveness vis--vis those of other ASEAN member-states (AMSs). Financial intermediation in the Philippines is the lowest in the region. Philippine banks are not turning customer deposits into loans as much as what the banks of other AMSs are doing. Its insurance subsector is also the smallest among AMSs in terms of market penetration and insurance density. Although the Philippines market capitalization is almost at par as that of Thailands, it has the smallest number of listed firms among AMSs. Dr. Lamberte also presented his recommendations on how to enhance the competitiveness of the sector so that it can contribute more to the countrys development, in general, and provide small and medium enterprises with better access to formal finance, in particular.

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