Playing the Blues Away

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[Photo of Jose Artemio Panganiban III]Not even a recession could stop Citigroup vice president Jose Artemio Panganiban III from playing a sonata.

Crunching numbers by day, pounding the piano at night. This is the story of Jose Artemio Panganiban III´s life. A vice president of Citigroup in New York, Panganiban still finds the time to play Mozart’s sonatas after a long day of computing credit risks.

Between calculators to ivory keys, Panganiban seems to live a dual life. Being both an executive and a musician may be tough, but Archie, as his friends call him, wouldn’t have it any other way. Asked if he ever thought about choosing just one career, he said “I’d rather not choose.” Without music, the days he spent taking post-graduate courses “felt empty.” Little wonder he “decided to come back to music.”

He may have disappointed his old man's wishes—Archie is former Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban's son—but becoming a lawyer never really crossed his mind. And though he did not follow in his father’s footsteps and entered the legal profession, he´s far from being a disappointment in the field he´s truly passionate about: music.

The Pianist

Archie was only seven when he started playing the piano. As a child, he would listen to classical recordings, arrange them into a program, and imagine himself performing in front of many people.

Now, he doesn't need to imagine anymore as he performs in front of audiences worldwide. His talent has earned him various scholarships and in 1989, he received the Associate Takahiro Sonoda Award at a piano competition in Japan.

A Summa Cum Laude in his Bachelor of Music degree at the University of the Philippines, Archie received a scholarship grant from the Federal Republic of Germany. While there, he had a taste of being a full-time concert pianist, but found out that it didn´t suit him. “I had... a hard time adjusting to the lifestyle of a full-time pianist. I was practicing 10 hours a day,” he said.

Too much music made him decide to pursue a career related to his other passion: math. Before studying in UP, Archie had finished a Management Engineering degree from Ateneo de Manila University. But he had to set this aside to follow his dream of becoming a musician.

Soon he realized music was not enough. So he decided to continue what he started by taking graduate courses at Stanford University from 1992 to 1999. Panganiban later earned masteral degrees in Operations and Research (with distinction) and Engineering-Economic Systems. He also got a Ph.D. in Engineering-Economic Systems & Operations Research.

After spending many years studying, Archie, carrying his highly impressive resume, set out to New York to start his career in finance.

[Photo of Panganiban Family]Wall Street

Panganiban worked in investment firms such as Credit Suisse First Boston, Bear Stearns, and Merrill Lynch before landing a job at Citigroup. Although working for another company, Archie is still affected by what happened to Merrill Lynch. “I´m still in touch with my group there so it´s sort of a personal loss as well that there´s no more Merrill Lynch.”

As a vice president of Citigroup, Archie is now in charge of counterparty credit risks. (Counterparty credit risks, in layman's terms, is the risk that a counterparty, or the opposite party in a bilateral agreement, will fail to perform As a vice president of Citigroup, Archie is now in charge of counterparty credit risks. (Counterparty credit risks, in layman's terms, is the risk that a counterparty, or the opposite party in a bilateral agreement, will fail to perform an obligation to the institution.) “Wecompute the potential exposure of Citigroup to various counterparties we deal with in case they defunct.” the young Pangaal exposure of Citigroup to various counterparties we dniban explains.an obligation to theal exposure of Citigroup to various counterparties we d institution.) “Wecompute the potential exal exposure of Citigroup to various counteal exposure of Citigroup to various counterparties we drparties we dposure of Citigroup to various counterparties we deal with in case they defunct.” the young Panganiban explains.

The financial crisis that has taken the whole world by storm has also given Archie more work to do. Citigroup is also affected by the meltdown and Panganiban’s team has to work double time to measure the financial risks facing the company.

Meltdown Woes

The global meltdown may have shocked most people but it didn’t come as a surprise for Archie. He said, “In a way, we saw it coming, but not to this extent.” He explained that credit spreads were widening since last year, an indication that there are higher credit risks involved for investors.

Archie says the situation now is very tense because no one knows what will happen next. Even large companies that they thought won’t be affected are now crumbling. With the current state of the global economy, many also believe we are headed for a recession.
The economic definition of a recession, Archie explains, is two consecutive quarters of negative growth. He, however, said, “…even if you don´t have that, personally, I think we are already in a recession.”

Panganiban explains that as the credit market continues to tighten, corporations would tend to reduce lending for fear that they would not be paid.

My Way

Despite the worldwide tension, Archie continues to play his sonatas and perform in concerts. He recently visited the Philippines to prepare for his concert “Three Pianists,” which will be held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on 9 January 2009. Panganiban will perform with distinguished pianists Pia Margarita Balasico and Abelardo Galang II.

The current crisis may have given Panganiban a huge work load but it is not enough to dampen his spirit. His continued dedication to his craft is proof that not even a recession could come in the way of his music.

Print ed: 12/08

 

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