From Shoe Seller To One Of Asia’s Richest

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Business News Philippines

Who is Teresita Sy-Coson? She’s one of the children of the late Henry Sy Sr., who established SM Malls from scratch, building an empire in the Philippines and some parts of the world, literally from scratch.

And while Teresita’s story isn’t a rags-to-riches one (Henry Sy began with 10 centavos before becoming the Philippines’ riches man), she didn’t just wait for her dad to give her money, either!

Avid Banking Fan at 5, Shoe Seller at 8

Banking and finance are things that don’t usually interest kids, but Teresita was different.

Despite being just 5 years old, she already developed an interest in banking, thanks to her maternal grandfather who would bring her along when making bank transactions.

This would really come in handy in the future as she would lead the family’s bank business, BDO Unibank, from the 13th spot all the way to the top!

Jkgatdula, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

But even before that happened, Teresita started out as a shoe seller at 8 years old.

Again, it wasn’t a rags-to-riches type of shoe-selling because her maternal grandfather and dad already owned small shoe stores at the time.

Yet it was amazing that at this tender age, Teresita was already interested in doing business.

According to an article in SCMP, customers would laugh when she tried to assist their children in choosing their shoes. Yet she persevered – and now co-owns the country’s largest chain of shopping malls with her siblings, something they inherited after their father’s passing.

Not Just an Heiress

What’s impressive about Teresita is that she isn’t just your typical spoiled rich heiress who squanders her family’s fortune just like in the movies.

Instead, she truly earned her way up the corporate ladder, with more than 15 years of being on the company’s board.

According to SM Prime, Teresita is currently the Advisor to the Board of Directors of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., a position that she has held since May 2008.

The company is one of Asia’s largest integrated property developers, which includes residences, commercial buildings, malls, leisure, and tourism developments.

She had also worked with the SM Group for over 20 years, learning and imparting her knowledge in various sectors of the company, from banking to mall development and retail merchandising.

She also holds board positions in several SM Group companies.

According to Forbes, Teresita has a net worth of $1.9 billion as of September 13, 2023.

Joy Adalia
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