Michael Nierva seeks to ‘rejuvenate’ Phil-Am chamber’s membership, relevance

He is one of many Filipinos in financial services. The FilAm photo

He is one of many Filipinos in financial services. The FilAm photo

By Cristina DC Pastor

Staten Island’s Michael Nierva was recently named VP of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce (PACC).

Mike is a managing director in J.P. Morgan’s Prime Brokerage unit. He is one of many Filipinos employed in the financial services sector, choosing to steer clear of the traditional sector jobs for Filipino Americans, such as health care, IT and retail. As a managing director, he supports high net worth clients such as hedge funds, endowments, pension plans and other institutional type entities.

“For a lot of people in my generation, our parents pushed us to do better,” Mike said when interviewed by The FilAm. Mike’s mother was a registered nurse, and his father was a cook in the U.S. Coast Guard before retiring several years ago.

Mike joined the PACC at a time when the Philippine economy and stock market are both surging and global investors are keeping a close watch, if not diving in.

“The Philippines is no longer a dark horse as it is now making a competitive run,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. proclaimed at a recent investment road show that traveled to Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston. “Investors trying to avoid some of the risks in Asia are beginning to find out that the biggest risk is not being in the Philippines.”

“We are indeed at an interesting junction,” said Mike, who is eyeing to expand the membership of the 93-year-old chamber and bring in more FilAms working on Wall Street.

While some economies are experiencing a financial crisis which could render them in default of their obligations, Mike said the Philippines was recently upgraded by the rating agency Fitch to investment-grade, a vote of confidence that will reduce borrowing costs and hopefully increase investments in the Philippines .

He said Philippine GDP has outpaced many of the other Southeast Asian “Tiger” economies, and its stock market is at an all-time high and “one of the best performing in the region.”

He said the chamber can assist in the investment community by “spreading the word” about the strides made by the Philippines in the economy as well as good governance reforms.

“I would like to assist in rejuvenating the chamber’s membership, relevance and value to the business community,” he said.

An interesting sidebar to Mike’s career is his many years at Bear Stearns, 24 years when combined with his tenure at JP Morgan. Bear Stearns was an investment bank which collapsed in 2008, amid a lack of confidence in the investment community. What soon followed was unprecedented as other venerable firms such as Lehman Brothers, AIG, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Washington Mutual, Merrill Lynch and others were either restructured or folded altogether. JP Morgan Chase would acquire Bear Stearns in 2008 and build on its products and services.

“It was a unique and trying experience being in the middle of the biggest financial crisis we’ve ever seen. I’m very proud of having a hand in building our prime brokerage offering at a top-tier service provider,” he said. “But I look forward to the next chapter of my life. I believe J.P. Morgan has the vision and the means to expand the prime brokerage business globally and increase our product offering in terms of both services and client reporting.”

Mike and his wife Grace have raised their family on Staten Island, where Mike was born and raised himself.

“Where I grew up, many of the roads we see today were just dirt roads back then” he said. “My wife and I met in high school when we played in a co-ed softball league I organized for the merchants of the Staten Island Mall.” Grace also worked on Wall Street, having a position on Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette’s trading floor before deciding to leave Wall Street to raise their family.

The couple has two children, Michael, 20, and Christopher,16. Michael is a sophomore at St Francis College where he plays Division 1 basketball. Christopher is a sophomore at Xaverian High School and is on the school’s baseball team.

With Italian American wife, Grace, and their two sons Michael and Christopher

With Italian American wife, Grace, and their two sons Michael and Christopher

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One Comment

  1. Dear Cristina,
    I am interested in corresponding with with Mr. Nierva.
    As chair of the prestigious Empowerment awards committee of Fiesta in America, i would like to nominate him to receive the award.
    I do hope you would consider sending my name to him.
    Hoping for your response soon.

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