How To Be a Financially Successful President

Being a financially successful President is not easy. At the least it requires the ability to multitask.

The continuing revelations of the previous Administration show the breadth of activities that need attention: Safeguarding the election of your people, arranging financing for corporate deals, negotiating with Chinese businessmen, selling helicopters to the military, ensuring proper coffee is served at the casinos. And all of this while governing a country and playing with the grandchildren.

For a better perspective of what is involved, here is “How To Succeed Financially as President And Live To Tell: A Primer”:

“ People assume being President is a license to steal. In fact it is not that simple. It requires thought and organization. Everything has to be completed in 6 years which is not a very long time.

As President, the principal consideration is job security. Everything else, the money in particular, depends on it.

While constitutionally the job has tenure, it can also be tenuous as we have witnessed in two presidencies.

The keys to keeping the job are two, the military and the Ombudsman.

The military needs to be made happy. This means giving generals a nice budget with little financial supervision, arms deals to play with, golden parachutes and a cozy exit on retirement, like ambassadorships to some obscure country.

Likewise, the Ombudsman has to be kept onside. This can take various forms but being nice to him/her generally does the trick.

Once the job is locked down comes the nice part, figuring out the money.

Presidential revenues are divided into the core businesses and the non-core. The former is defined as an activity that generates recurring earnings.

The core businesses are principally smuggling, jueteng and drugs. The advantages of these franchises are the royalties are predictable and require little management time. The revenues just need top be audited to make sure nobody is skimming.

The non-core activities are more complex, requiring focus and organization.

The basic model works like this. One, identify strategic companies that are ripe for picking, preferably regulated enterprises (e.g. utilities) where Government has a say. Ideally these companies are publicly listed.

Two, pressure the owners to sell, ideally on the cheap. To the extent Government institutions are large owners of the stock, this task is made easier.

Three, arrange easy acquisition financing from Government entities like DBP, SSS and GSIS.

Four, with inside information, buy shares of the target companies in the market ahead of the news. Bring favored persons in on the deal so everybody is happy.

Five, resell the companies at a huge profit to legitimate buyers. Alternatively keep them as inheritance for the kids or to launder profits earned elsewhere. Like the mafia, one eventually needs to go legitimate.

The non-core business is complicated. It requires hiring dealmakers and ex-investment bankers that will front and run the companies.  Ultimately, these are the businesses that will sustain the President once out of office so it needs to be done right e.g. ensuring the front-men do not run off with the money.

If executed properly, six years should be enough time to secure a President’s financial future. Where Presidents have failed it has been because they have been lazy or greedy.

One President concentrated on quickie opportunities and low lying fruit rather than building an institutional money machine that would outlast his term. He also relied on dubious characters to run his deals. This ultimately proved his wrongdoing.

In another case. the presidential partner became greedy, choosing to dabble in marginal transactions. This is now coming to haunt him.

In conclusion, the prescriptions for a financially successful presidency are:

1. Stick with the mainstream- Deal only with transactions that are recurring, predictable, and properly structured to avoid a paper trail. It is the small, sloppy off deals that will get you.

2. Work with professionals- These guys know how to arrange transactions that will provide long term value and confidentiality. They are also the ones least likely to squeal on you.

3. Remember the golden goose- The biggest mistake of failed presidencies is they get so engrossed in job security and in making money that they forget what it was that put them where they are, public support. Even as they line their pockets, financially successful presidents need to bring some good to the community.

By doing so the public will be less mindful of their illegal activities.”

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About Leo Alejandrino

The blog is principally a commentary on Philippine politics and economics.
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One Response to How To Be a Financially Successful President

  1. manuelbuencamino says:

    The keys to keeping the job are two, the military and the Ombudsman.

    Three, including the Supreme Court

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