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Takeaway from 3rd Philippine Junior Finance and Investment Summit: A Financially Stable Life Means More Travel

What's life without money? What's travel without money? Whether we admit it or not, the world is run by money. That life is unfair. However, if you are financially able, the chances of living your life to the fullest is way, way better. Ever since I became a freelancer, I learned to value every peso that I earn now. Every spending, I have to think over and over again if it is worth it. It is certainly not as much as what I make when I was working in the corporate but I tell you I am happier than before. Of course, there are pro's and cons that only if I can bring back the times, I would love to correct what I did wrong and do what I did not.

Weeks ago, I was able to join the 3rd Philippine Junior Finance and Investment Summit.  I wasn't there from the start to finish  but I made it just in time to listen to this inspiring story  delivered by Andrew Stotz, President of CFA Society Thailand. I have a very short attention span when it comes to listening to conferences with live speakers but his topic hit me right in my heart. He starts by introducing a young boy who was very industrious, got married and started a family. He was not born rich but he made his way up and raised his children because he finished a degree and ventured into financial investments. This boy who is now a family man lived his life to the fullest, retired early and therefore was able to travel the world with his wife. All because he started young to be financially stable. Until a few years back, this family man died of natural cause. The audience for a short time felt sad but what surprised us the most is the revelation he shared to us - that he is the son of this man. Andrew followed the steps of his father and decides to do something bigger - to inspire and educate the world about creating a lifestyle that's free of debt and being financially able.  He now lives with his mom in Thailand who also suffers from some mild sickness because of ageing but because she is financially stable, both of them do not worry when it comes to paying hospital bills and buying medicines.

More details about the CFA event and Andrew Stotz
In the CFA Program, there are financial areas covered where one can build competitive advantage like: Financial Accounting, Alternative Investment, Derivatives, Portfolio Management, Corporate Finance, Equity Evaluation, Fixed Income, Asset Allocation and Behavioral Finance. But above all these, according to Stotz, a financial professional must build a high level of competitive advantage in the area of ‘Ethics’. This is a major factor that distinguishes a financial professional from others. “Build this competitive advantage in Ethics, and you’ll be rare,” Stotz said.

Stotz, an award-winning stock market analyst, has twenty years of experience working for various investment banks. He is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research, which helps individuals and institutions build wealth through stock selection and portfolio management. “I was treated ethically and my family was treated ethically, and I have benefited from it for years; that’s why I wanted to communicate ethics in a simple and positive way,” Stotz said. As financial professionals, according to Stotz, one must be diligent, loyal, independent, trustworthy, always striving for continuous improvement, must be fair, objective, has a high sense of confidentiality, thorough, and must be able to face and address conflicts head on. “We are meant to be independent on our work. We serve our clients. As financial professionals, we should fill the gap of our clients’ financial interest. And you should care for your clients as you would your mother,” he said.

“Build your value through ethics. Spend more time building your ethical advantage than building your technical advantage,” Stotz added. Ms. Rosalia de Leon, Treasurer of the Philippines (Bureau of Treasury Department of Finance) and also the summit’s keynote speaker shared, “Live a balanced-life. Try new things and develop hobbies. Make smart investments today apart from savings.” She also stressed the importance of PJFIS and its advocacy. “This [PJFIS] is a very useful platform for the students and professionals who really want to pursue a career in finance. I would like to congratulate CFA for hosting this kind of conference that really educates students and young professionals about the finance and investment career and even the problems that may come up,” de Leon said.

PJFIS’ other speakers were Mr. Neil Govier, CFA–Head, Education Asia Pacific (CFA Institute); Ms. April Tan, CFA-Vice President and Head of Research (COL Financial Group, Inc.); Mr. Robert Stammers, CFA-Director of Investor Engagement on the Future of Finance (CFA Institute); Mr. Mark Yu, CFA-President (Retail) and CIO (SEAOIL Philippines Inc.); Mr. Mark Ilao, CFA-Business Development Officer (COL Financial Group Inc.); Mr. Ronilo Balbleran-Vice President for Operation (Research Education and Institutional Development (REID) Foundation); and Mr.Edmund Lee, CFA-President and CEO (Caylum Tracing Institute).

“Being part of the 3rd PJFIS is such a wonderful experience for me as a finance student, because it opened a door for me to know what my craft is all about and broad knowledge that will help me a lot in pursuing my dreams,” Jobelle Balasbas, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Banking and Finance student said. “Upon hearing the speakers, I was left with a question, rather a motivation of, ‘Instead of wasting my time on non-profitable things, why don’t I make my everyday life productive?” PJFIS is a conference and exhibition catered for students and young professionals who want to advance their personal career and financial wellness. A brainchild of CFA Society Philippines, this project aims to deliver value to the Philippine investment community by providing future investment professionals a clear view of how to properly build a career in finance, an overview of various investment products and tools, and a venue to understand the significance of ethics and professional standards. 

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