Santa Claus and the power of 3

Published December 22, 2020, 6:00 AM

by J. Albert Gamboa

Historically, the month of December tends to be strong for stock market investors. At the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the so-called Santa Claus rally is underway and this is attributed to news about the various COVID-19 vaccines’ rollout ongoing in several countries as well as lower unemployment and improved manufacturing levels in the country during the fourth quarter.

There’s a saying that “all good things come in threes” which dates back to medieval times. In terms of symbolism, the number three is assigned a special role across many cultures and religions such as the Holy Trinity and the Three Wise Men in the Christian bible. Even in politics, “third time’s the charm” applies to candidates who succeed after three attempts, like US President-elect Joe Biden who sought his party’s nomination three times and made it on the third try.

A PSE-listed company that recently experienced a streak of three consecutive winnings in the gaming and fintech spheres is DFNN Inc. Last month, its subsidiary Interactive Entertainment Solutions Technologies Inc. (IEST) was granted a license by the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (PAGCOR) to operate the country’s first online gaming platform as provided for under its original agreement with PAGCOR.

IEST is the owner and operator of multiple gaming licenses from PAGCOR that allow it to create proprietary systems and supply technology platforms inside its partnered gaming outlets and access them via remote means. It recently launched InPlay, a remote gaming platform that was developed as an extension of its current land-based system allowing a portion of gaming to take place safely and in privacy via interactive channels.

InPlay is available only to VIP players who must meet strict eligibility and registration procedures after undergoing rigid know-your-client protocols, including the latest facial recognition capabilities that is the first to be deployed in the gaming world, personal registration, and secure fund deposit/withdrawal payment solutions which is the core strength of the DFNN Group. DFNN’s suite of tech capabilities and its own intellectual property guarantee that all these security measures are executed properly.

According to DFNN CEO Calvin Lim, InPlay represents a significant measure towards generating revenues for the government. “The main focus now should be combating illegals and the industry should work in unison to do so. Illegal online casinos have been flourishing, becoming so creative as to engage agents or affiliates in order to differentiate themselves by forming clubs to recruit players. In many countries, both online and land-based gaming have co-existed for many years and all remained profitable,” he stressed.

Last week, another DFNN unit called iWave Advanced Research Group was given an exclusive license by the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) to operate the Global Trade Exchange (GTX), a platform that enables cross-border trade and exchange of digital assets between non-Filipino international investors. Early on, iWave recognized the strategic vision and political will of Bataan’s provincial leaders. Its offshore revenue should accrue to the benefit of the republic and draw global programming talent to the Philippines. This business model was bolstered by the recent announcement of similar initiatives from the Singapore Stock Exchange and DBS Bank.

AFAB is a state-run corporation that manages the development of the Mariveles-based economic zone known as the Freeport Area of Bataan (FAB), while iWave is authorized to perform various capital market functions for foreign clients, including futures, digital commodities, derivatives, and other complex financial instruments with a goal of democratizing finance globally. “Through the operation of the pioneering and innovative business of GTX, it is envisioned that FAB shall be in a unique position vis-à-vis the other 5,400 economic zones worldwide, inevitably placing FAB as the gold standard for all ecozones,” AFAB Administrator Emmanuel Pineda explained. or OZ, a blockchain protocol that provides liquidity and credit to operators under iWave’s GTX, has been approved for development by AFAB. This effectively gives companies dealing with GTX the access to much-needed capital and credit to seed and upscale their businesses. Both GTX and OZ are scheduled for launching in 2021.

To complete DFNN’s series of fortunate events, shareholders of Silver Heritage Group Ltd. (SVH) overwhelmingly approved the consolidation of SVH’s share capital at their second and final meeting, as well as the issuance of new shares to DFNN affiliate Hatch Australia Holdings Pty. Ltd. (HAH) and to secured creditors or their nominees – effectively ceding control of the listed entity to Manila-based HatchAsia Inc., HAH’s parent company.

During the SVH general meeting in Sydney last December 15, all resolutions were carried in accordance with listing rules of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). HAH is on track to successfully complete the deed of company arrangement in Australia by end of the year. The next steps are to lift the voluntary suspension on the ASX, inject assets, and undertake the compliance offering. HAH will then become the first Filipino-owned firm to be listed in the Australian equities market.

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