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Harley Sy—The Youngest Sy You Probably Didn’t Know

Harley Sy—The Youngest Sy You Probably Didn’t Know

SM Investments works in many different fields, such as shops, financial services, real estate investment, and even equity.

Harley Sy is the fourth son and the youngest of Henry Sy's six children. He serves on the boards of several financial and banking-related family businesses. 

He is also a director at China Banking and an advisor at BDO Private Bank.  In addition to his roles as co-vice chair and treasurer of SM Retail, he also acts as an adviser to the board.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Harley Sy

1. An Academic Foundation in Economics

The bedrock of Harley Sy’s accomplishments lies in his formidable academic journey. Having attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from De La Salle University, a distinguished institution in the Philippines, Harley’s academic prowess has undoubtedly contributed to his adeptness in the realms of business leadership. The strategic prowess evident in SMIC’s expansive growth and diversification echoes the utilization of skills honed during his academic pursuit in Economics.

2. A Philanthropic Steward

Inheriting his father’s philanthropic ethos, Harley Sy is intricately involved in charitable and communal endeavors. Actively championing the SM Foundation, a non-profit entity dedicated to assisting underprivileged Filipino families, Harley epitomizes the essence of social responsibility. Leveraging personal and corporate resources, he directs efforts towards societal betterment, exemplifying a commitment to uplifting communities and fostering positive change.

3. Navigating Succession in SM Investments Corporation (SMIC)

Steering the helm of SMIC as its president and CEO from 2005 to 2019, Harley Sy wielded influence over one of the Philippines’ preeminent business conglomerates. Under his stewardship, SMIC continued its trajectory of excellence across diverse sectors, including retail, banking, and property development. His unwavering dedication and strategic foresight were instrumental in maintaining SMIC’s market dominance and ensuring sustained financial robustness.

4. A Modest Persona

Despite his stature as a notable business figure, Harley Sy maintains a modest personal profile. Preferring to eschew the limelight, he directs attention towards his professional endeavors and philanthropic engagements, thus fostering an environment conducive to focused productivity. His unassuming demeanor, reminiscent of his father’s values, underscores a belief in the efficacy of actions over ostentation.

5. Advocacy for Inclusive Leadership

Harley Sy espouses the principles of inclusive leadership, recognizing the value of diverse perspectives. Embracing input from all echelons of the organization, his leadership style cultivates an environment conducive to innovation, unity, and employee morale. By prioritizing inclusivity, Harley underscores a commitment to fostering a harmonious workplace conducive to individual and collective growth.

Photo from the wires

A Well-Rounded Business Leader

Born in 1960, Harley T. Sy holds a degree from De La Salle University Manila. He currently serves as the Executive Director of SM Investments, a testament to his leadership skills and business acumen. Harley Sy's expertise extends beyond SM Investments itself. He holds directorships in several family-owned companies, particularly those in the financial and banking sector.

This includes China Banking Corporation and BDO Private Bank, where he serves as an advisor. Furthermore, Harley Sy plays a crucial role within SM Retail, the massive retail arm of SM Investments. He holds the titles of Co-Vice Chairman and Treasurer, demonstrating his diverse skillset within the retail industry.

Expanding the Family Holdings

Harley T. Sy's dedication to the family business extends beyond his leadership roles. Recent news highlights his strategic move to acquire a larger stake in SM Investments. Through a stock exchange with Allfirst Equity Holdings Inc., Harley Sy increased his ownership by 5.795%. This strategic acquisition not only bolstered his personal stake but also showcased his commitment to the company's continued growth. The acquired shares came with ownership of geothermal fields in Tiwi, Albay, and Makban, Laguna, further diversifying SM Investments' portfolio.

A Legacy of Business Excellence

Harley Sy stands as a prominent figure within the Sy family and the Philippine business world. His leadership at SM Investments, combined with his strategic acquisitions and involvement in family-owned financial institutions, solidify his reputation as a business leader with a keen eye for opportunity. As Harley continues his work, he ensures the continued success of the SM Investments empire, a legacy built by his father and now flourishing under his guidance.