Sy Siblings Dominate Forbes 2019 List of Philippines’ Richest

The family has an estimated net worth of $17.2 billion.

For 11 consecutive years prior to his passing, the late taipan Henry Sy, Sr. was ranked the Philippines’ richest person after building his SM Investments empire. And in Forbes’ first Philippines’ Richest list since the billionaire passed away at the age of 94 in January of this year, all six of his children have replaced their father in the top spot as the Philippines’ richest of 2019.

With a combined wealth of $17.2 billion (P899 billion) from the family’s diversified companies, the Sy Siblings dominate the Forbes list made up of 50 of the richest billionaires and millionaires in the country. The siblings, in order of birth, are:

Teresita Sy-Coson, chair of BDO Unibank and co-vice chair of SM Investments. The de facto head of SM Investments group.
Elizabeth Sy, head of SM Hotels and Conventions.
Henry Sy, Jr., chairman of SM Prime and co-vice chairman of SM Investments.
Hans Sy, chair of SM Prime’s executive committee and China Banking Corp.
Herbert Sy, director of SM Prime.
Harley Sy, exective director of SM Investments, director of China Banking, and adviser to BDO Unibank.

Prior to the Philippines’ Richest list, the Sy siblings individually landed on the Forbes Billionaires 2019 list. However, the business magazine decided to group the family together for this list, ensuring them the top spot. The family firm was the lone Philippine company to land on the Forbes list World's Best Regarded Companies 2019, which was released earlier this month. 

Coming in second on the list is Manuel Villar, who is the richest individual to show up on the list. Villar’s wealth stems from his extensive real estate portfolio worth $6.6 billion. Dubbed the richest man in the Philippines, he was the highest-ranking Filipino to appear on Forbes’ Billionaires 2019 list.


Following the Sys and Villar is John Gokongwei, Jr. with a net worth of $5.3 billion made up from JG Summit’s diversified companies, which include Cebu Pacific and Robinsons malls. (Esquire Philippines is also published by a company owned by the Gokongwei family). Enrique Razon, Jr., who runs the country’s largest ports as well as Solaire Resort and Casino, comes in fourth with $5.1 billion. The retired Jaime Zobel de Ayala of his family’s Ayala Group closes the top five with $3.7 billion.

Philippine Airlines’ Lucio Tan, Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong, San Miguel’s Ramon Ang, Metrobank’s Ty siblings, and Megaworld’s Andrew Tan fill up the sixth to tenth spots.

The youngest Filipino to land on the list at number 28 is Edgar "Injap" Sia, founder of Mang Inasal and chairman of DoubleDragon Properties. At only 42 years old, his net worth is estimated to be $400 million. 

Meanwhile, the eldest on the list is Bienvenido Tantoco, Sr., 98, whose wealth is estimated to be $140 million. Coming in at number 48 on the list, Tantoco is the co-founder of Rustan’s Group, along with his late wife Gliceria Tantoco. 

Based on Forbes’ list, the combined net worth of the 50 richest people in the Philippines is roughly $78 billion (P4.07 trillion). That is almost a quarter of the Philippines’ gross domestic product in 2018 ($330 billion).

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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