Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno has commended the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for launching the Philippines’ first-ever Tokenized Treasury Bonds (TTBs) and implementing other initiatives aimed at deepening the country’s capital markets and financial inclusion during the Bureau’s 126th Anniversary at the Ayuntamiento de Manila on November 20, 2023.
The TTBs are one-year fixed-rate government securities that pay semi-annual coupons, with the coupon rate set at 6.50 percent, which will be offered to Qualified Institutional Buyers (QIBs) on November 20, 2023. The issue date is scheduled on November 22, 2023.
The TTBs seek to promote greater financial inclusion and broader participation in the bond market.
“This strategic move aims to democratize access to government securities by making them more accessible and affordable for every Filipino investor,” Secretary Diokno said in his keynote address.
The BTr saw strong demand from qualified institutional investors for the TTBs during the book-building activity, reaching a total awarded amount of PHP 15 billion, which is significantly higher than the minimum issue size of PHP 10 billion.
The TTBs will be issued in the form of digital tokens to be maintained in the BTr’s Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) Registry.
“We are excited for this opportunity to issue our very first Tokenized Treasury Bonds. The success of this issuance will go a long way towards advancing our efforts in the digitalization space,” said Secretary Diokno.
The issuance of the TTBs completes the BTr’s Government Securities (GS) Digitalization Roadmap which contains a series of digitalization reforms that streamline end-to-end investing in GS, reducing operational risk and friction costs for both institutional and retail investors.
The Finance Secretary also commended the Bureau for the ease of access and affordability of its retail offerings.
The BTR has implemented online channels, such as the Online Ordering Facility and mobile banking applications of partner banks, which allow investors to purchase government securities remotely.
For instance, Retail Treasury Bonds (RTBs) were offered for a low minimum investment of PHP 5,000, while Retail Dollar Bonds (RDBs) were offered for a minimum investment of only US$ 200, allowing small-scale investors to participate and diversify their portfolios.
To maximize the convenience of investing in RDBs, the government has retained the PesoClear structure which allows peso account holders to purchase RDBs without having to open a separate US dollar account.
As a result of this effort, the Bureau successfully raised PHP 356 billion manifesting investors’ strong and unwavering confidence in the Philippines’ solid macroeconomic fundamentals.
“Progress in financial inclusion has been equally encouraging. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that as of 2021, 56 percent of Filipino adults now have transaction accounts – a marked improvement from the 29 percent in 2019,” Secretary Diokno said.
“I am confident that the Bureau of the Treasury will remain instrumental in helping us achieve our target of banking 70 percent of the adult population,” he added.
On the same day, the BTr awarded the top ten Government Securities Eligible Dealers (GSED) Market Makers for 2024, namely: Banco de Oro Universal Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, China Banking Corporation, Citibank N.A., Development Bank of the Philippines, First Metro Investment Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines, Philippine National Bank, Unionbank of the Philippines, and the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company.
The Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company was recognized as the top GSED-Market Maker.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Mamerto E. Tangonan and Monetary Board Member Rosalia V. De Leon attended the event alongside Secretary Diokno to show their support to the BTr.
Land Bank of the Philippines President and CEO (PCEO) Lynette V. Ortiz and Development Bank of the Philippines PCEO Michael de Jesus also graced the event as the Joint Lead Issue Managers of the maiden TTB offering.