The Trust Institute Foundation of the Philippines

The Philippine Trust Institute was established in 1977 to create a venue that would formally educate trust practitioners further about the concepts of trusts and investments. It has since become the educational arm of the trust industry and the Trust Officers Association of the Philippines (TOAP). The only established institution for trust education in the country, it later changed its name to Trust Institute Foundation of the Philippines (TIFP) in 1993.

To carry out the objectives of the TIFP, it formulated the one-year course on Trust Operations and Investment Management. The course is divided into two semesters. The first semester deals with the fundamentals of the various trust arrangements and the legal environment under which they are established and carried out; thus, the following sessions on History of Trusts; Establishing the Trust Relations; Administration of Trusts; Termination of Trusts; Liabilities of Trustee, Remedies of Beneficiary; Law on Agency; Depositary Relationships; Guardianship and Other Court Trusts; Collateral Trust Functions; Transfer Agency and Other Functions; Law on Donations; Will Drafting and Testate and Intestate Succession; Tax Aspects of Gratuitous Transmission of Wealth; Basic Estate Planning; Employee Benefit Plans; Personal Equity and Retirement Account (PERA); and TrustOrganization and Marketing of Trust Services.

The second semester is about the services rendered by trust departments in order to fulfill their duties under the various arrangements learned in the previous semester.

The sessions are on the following: Government Regulations on Trust Operations and Fund Management; Basic Standards in the Administration of Trust, Other Fiduciary and Investment Management Accounts; Corporate Governance and Risk Management Guidelines for Trust; Basics of Financial Mathematics; Credit Analysis; Introduction to Equity Investments; Fundamental Approach to Stock Selection; Technical Approaches to Timing of Investments;Fundamentals of Fixed-income Investments; Money Market Trading; Basics of Foreign Exchange; Introduction to NDF and Derivatives; Portfolio/Fund Management; Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs); Management of Real Estate; Tax Aspects of Investments; Trust Accounting and Internal Audit; and Code of Conduct and Ethics for Trust Practitioners. Since the second semester builds on the first, participants achieve a more systematic view and learning if they are enrolled for both semesters and in the order given.

The TIFP takes pride in the manner in which its curriculum has dynamically evolved to cope with the changing trust business environment and as the financial markets became more sophisticated. Throughout the years, the curriculum has been modified to include new developments in the industry or as the need arises.

Classes are now being conducted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes were originally held at the old Ateneo Graduate School on Fr. Horacio V. De La Costa, S.J. Street in Makati until the first semester of 1998, and later transferred to the AIM Conference Center on Benavidez corner Trasierra Streets in Legaspi Village. Conducting these sessions are seasoned trust officers from various banks, other trust practitioners, fund or investment managers, and other professionals in related fields. This program runs for three hours every Saturday for a period of 10 to 11 months–a full two semesters to parallel the regular class schedules. Students are graded to gauge their performance and to determine the outstanding student of the class every year. The top student is given a special scholarship to the summer session conducted at the National Trust School/National Graduate Trust School of the American Bankers Association at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The institute shoulders the tuition fee and 50 percent of the student’s plane fare.

The institute is happy to see that the enrollees are not just people from within the trust industry but from other related sectors such as insurance, pre-need, law firms, accountants and auditors, actuaries, the academe, branches of government and regulatory agencies. Still, some are private individuals who find the topics useful in their own personal lives.

As a testament to its being acknowledged as an effective training venue particularly for trust practitioners, no less than the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recognizes the completion of the one-yearcourse in TIFP asadditional requirement for would-be trust officers.

BSP Circular 655 describes the qualifications of a trust officer. In lieu of at least five years actual experience in trust operations, one may have only three years of actual experience but must have completed a one-year training program acceptable to the BSP.

When the Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) was introduced in the market, BSP issued Circular No. 447 which required all marketing personnel who will handle the sale of the UITF to undergo the Standardized Training Program–which was offered by the TIFP in cooperation with the TOAP. The institute has conducted 21 batches since 2004 and has already submitted to BSP a total of 623 certified UITF trainors as of Sept. 15, 2015. The institute, in coordination with the BSP, has come up with a revised module of the UITF Certification Program, renamed Enhanced UITF Certification Program, which includes changes/revisions in the BSP Circulars affecting the UITF. The institute has offered a total of nine batches of the enhanced program and submitted to the BSP a total of 381 certified UITF sales persons as of Aug. 31, 2018, after offering the last batch of the Enhanced UITF Certification Program on Aug. 11, 2018. The new UITF Certification Program (UCP) is now in place, where TOAP has been designated to handle the online examinations for would-be UITF certified sales persons. The examinations are based on the revised TIFP curriculum as prescribed by the BSP. For its part, the TIFP will come up with UCP review classes as needed by constituents and practitioners.

Starting with but a few students during its early days–an initial enrollment of 18 students–the institute is proud to have almost 3,000 graduates coming from the banking and non-banking sectors, investment institutions, government regulatory bodies, food and beverage corporations, manufacturing firms, the House of Representatives, SSS, PNOC, AFP-RSBS, AFPSLAI, law firms, insurance companies, actuarial sector, and educational institutions, to name a few–either as part of their employer’s training program or as individuals pursuing additional knowledge toward self-development. With 124 graduates last June 2020, the TIFP now has a total of 3,350 graduates during its 43 years of existence.

The current batch (44th) of the one-year online course on Trust Operations and Investment Management (School Year 2020-2021) officially started last Aug. 8, 2020, with 77 enrollees from various banking and non-banking institutions. With the course conducted online, the TIFP hopes to get enrollees from the provinces, who do not have to travel to Manila to attend the course.

The institute is now accepting enrollees for the next batch (2021-2022), which will start on July 4, 2021. For inquiries, email trust_institute1977@yahoo.com or ofiejunio@yahoo.com .

The institute hopes to carry on with its activities with more vigor and enthusiasm in the years to come. As it enters its 45th year, it is gearing up to handle more students in its trust school and provide more seminar modules, thus allowing it to inch closer to its lofty goal of providing excellence in trust education. In line with its purpose of offering continuing trust education for practitioners, the institute may conduct webinars like Effects of TRAIN in the Trust Industry; Marketing the Different Trust Products; Updates on Trust Regulations; Advance Course on Investment Management, Basic Trust Banking Seminar for Non-Trust Officers, Seminars on Estate Planning, PERA, Foreign Exchange Market and Derivatives, and other relevant topics.

Looking back at the vision of its founders, led by the late Victorio Gomez, then trust officer of Solidbank, and the late lawyer Lauro Jocson, then VP and trust officer of Prudential Bank, TIFP has gone a long way in its 43 years of existence. And TIFP’s dream of reaching a wider public and spreading awareness of trust and its benefits will continue to be a reality.