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Wick Veloso’s upcoming tasks: Improve GSIS fund, tackle political interests

Ralf Rivas

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Wick Veloso’s upcoming tasks: Improve GSIS fund, tackle political interests

ENTERING GOVERNMENT. Veteran banker Jose Arnulfo 'Wick' Veloso.

From a life of leading private banks, Wick Veloso shifts to a role in government as he heads state insurer GSIS

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Bank (PNB) president and chief executive officer Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso was chosen by president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to lead the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Prior to the announcement of his appointment on Wednesday, June 29, Veloso was rumored to be Marcos’ finance secretary. But that post went to current central bank governor and former budget chief Benjamin Diokno.

In his over 30 years in the banking and finance industry, this is the first time for Veloso to join government.

Veloso will replace GSIS President and General Manager Rolando Macasaet. 

The tasks that await him

The GSIS is a social insurance institution that provides a defined benefit scheme for government employees.

Veloso is expected to further boost GSIS’ investment portfolio.

Its portfolio rose by 5.2% to P890.59 billion in 2021 from P846.4 billion in 2020.

“The growth came primarily from the GSIS’ well-positioned foreign currency-denominated investments, particularly in the equities market and the infrastructure sector,” Macasaet earlier said. 

The peso-denominated investments of the GSIS pension fund dipped 4.38% to P633.31 billion in 2021 from P662.3 billion in 2020, but its foreign currency-denominated assets rose to P257.26 billion from P184.1 billion.

Veloso is also expected to improve GSIS financials coming off the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GSIS disbursed more financial support to its members and pensioners amid the pandemic, resulting in a net loss of P104.95 billion in 2020 and P18.7 billion in 2021.

Veloso will also have to balance political interests. For instance, lawmakers earlier proposed lowering the retirement age for government employees to 56 years old instead of 60. But the GSIS said such a move would reduce the fund life by 12 years or only until 2039, from the current estimate of 2051.

His qualifications

Before leading PNB, Veloso served as CEO of HSBC Philippines, the first Filipino to hold the post. He was in HSBC for 23 years.

He also held the following positions prior to PNB:

  • Chairman, HSBC Savings Bank Philippines
  • Chairman, British School Manila
  • President, Money Market Association of the Philippines
  • President, Bankers Association of the Philippines
  • Head-Fixed Income Trader, NextGenesis Corporation
  • Head-Domestic Treasury, PCI Bank Foundation
  • President and CEO, Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (Manila Branch)
  • Head-Domestic Treasury, PCI Capital
  • Head-Fixed Income Portfolio, Citibank NA


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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.