Elmer B. Serrano

Elmer B. Serrano

Elmer B. Serrano

Head, Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group

Mr. Elmer B. Serrano’s solid experience and entrepreneurial approach mark his place as a leading practitioner not only in the Philippines but also in the region.
Mr. Serrano has been named by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) as an IFLR Asia Best Lawyer 2020, after being consistently recognized as a Leading Lawyer in the fields of M&A, Banking and Finance and Capital Markets.
Mr. Serrano is also recognized as an elite Leading Individual by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific.
Mr. Serrano's strong M&A experience spans nearly three decades, having advised and provided strategic advice and solutions on several of the largest and most notable mergers and acquisitions across a wide range industries, strongest in banking, shipping and gaming sectors.
Early in his career, Mr. Serrano played an instrumental role in the merger of then Equitable Banking Corporation and the behemoth PCI Bank. His participation later on parlayed into what would turn out to be the biggest banking M&A transaction at the time – the Equitable-PCI Bank and Banco de Oro merger – creating what is today the biggest bank in the Philippines based on almost all measures. Succeeding acquisitions in the banking and finance sectors handled by Atty. Serrano include the acquisition of American Express Bank Philippines, Inc., Banco Santander Philippines, Citibank Savings and its credit card business, the 31-branch GE Money Bank, as well as the banking businesses, assets and networks of 60-branch First e-Bank and United Overseas Bank, 30-branch Rural Bank of San Juan, and most recently, the Rural Bank of Pandi, one of the best performing rural banks in the country.
Mr. Serrano's keen commercial instinct and ability to navigate through difficult legal issues to get the deal done has proven valuable as well to clients outside the banking sector. Mr. Serrano closed a pioneering cooperation and operating agreement for an integrated gaming and entertainment facility of listed Belle Corporation and Premium Leisure and Amusement, Inc. with MCE Leisure (Philippines) Corporation, an indirect subsidiary of Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, a company listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Mr. Serrano has also been involved in noteworthy  acquisitions in  the real  estate,  energy and mining sectors.  Recent transactional highlights include advising Udenna Corporation on its USD980 Million acquisition of GGDC Holdings, an offshore company which indirectly holds the coveted leasehold from the Philippine government within Clark Freeport Zone, and in the USD690 Million financing for the project. Mr. Serrano also played a key role in the investment of SM Investments Corporation and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. in 2GO Group, Inc., the leading shipping, logistics and distribution company in the Philippines.
Mr. Serrano likewise regularly advises issuers and underwriters in the debt and equity capital markets.  Mr.  Serrano  advised  BDO  in  its  PHP60.0  Billion  (approximately  USD1.20  Billion) 1:3 stock rights offer completed in January 2017, one of the largest common capital raising exercises in the country. He also handled the USD5Billion Medium Term Note and PHP365 Million Bond Programs of BDO, which include a PHP35 Billion bond issuance in 2019, the biggest single Peso bond issuance by a Philippine bank to date.

Mr. Serrano also acted as Philippine counsel to international lenders for the redenomination and refinancing of credit facilities for the expansion of commercial malls in China of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia.
Mr. Serrano is the Corporate Secretary of SM Prime and its parent, SM Investments Corporation, and affiliate, Premium Leisure Corp., as well as other listed companies.
Mr. Serrano serves as Corporate Secretary of and counsel to premier industry associations, such as the Bankers Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Payments Management, Inc., the payment system management body of the Philippines.
Prior to joining the firm in 2006, Mr. Serrano was a senior officer of BDO Unibank, Inc., handling investment banking, corporate finance and M&A. His extensive banking experience included a stint with Equitable-PCI Bank, Inc. from 1997 to 2002. He was a partner at the law office of Oreta & Berenguer until 1995.
Mr.  Serrano  is  a  Certified  Associate  Treasury  Professional  (2017)  and  was  among  the  top graduates of the Trust Institute of the Philippines in 2001.

Skills & Experience

  • Banking and Finance
  • Corporate Finance
  • Securities
  • Capital Markets
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Debt Restructuring
  • Business Formation & Foreign Investment
  • Taxation
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution


    • Ateneo de Manila University, Juris Doctor (1992)
    • Ateneo de Manila University, B.S. Legal Management (1988)


    • Member, Integrated Bar of the Philippines
    • Financial Executive Institute of the Philippines
    • Tax Management Association of the Philippines, Inc.