Mr Elmer Serrano > Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano > Manila, Philippines > Lawyer Profile

Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano

Work Department

Mergers & Acquisitions, Banking and Finance, Capital Markets, Antitrust and Competition


Senior Partner


Mr. Serrano heads the Firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group and Antitrust and Competition Practice Group. He also specializes in Banking and Finance and Capital Markets.

Mr. Serrano’s solid experience and entrepreneurial approach mark his place as a leading practitioner in the Philippines. Mr. Serrano not only advises private companies and financial industry associations in transactions, projects, and debt and equity offerings, but also handles acquisitions and joint ventures in the logistics, insurance, shipping, real estate, energy and mining sectors.

His career highlights include having played an instrumental role in the merger of then two biggest banks in the country, which later on parlayed into what would turn out to be the biggest banking M&A transaction at the time – creating what is today the biggest bank in the Philippines. He now regularly advises the bank in its bond issuances, which notably include the biggest single Peso bond issuance by a Philippine corporate to date.  He also represents the bank and its subsidiaries in all their M&A transactions. Most recently, he advised this banking group in the restructuring of its leasing business through the sale of its publicly-listed leasing arm and the simultaneous privatization of its leasing and financing business.

Mr. Serrano also regularly acts as Philippine counsel to international lenders for the redenomination and refinancing of credit facilities, which include loans for the expansion of commercial malls in China of a publicly-listed real estate company, one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia.

Mr. Serrano is the corporate secretary of, and counsel to, a number of publicly-listed companies and premier industry associations. As such, he advised the banking industry in the launch and implementation of the National Retail Payment System.

Some of his recent projects include:

  • Acted as counsel to a local conglomerate in its multi-million US dollar acquisition of an offshore company which indirectly holds the coveted leasehold from the Philippine government within Clark Freeport Zone
  • Represented two publicly-listed companies in their acquisitions of one of the largest shipping, logistics and distribution companies in the Philippines, whose shares are also listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange, and represented the parties before various regulators such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Maritime Industry Authority, the Philippine Stock Exchange, and the Philippine Competition Commission
  • Advised the issuer in one of the largest stock rights offering in the country, which was awarded “Best Philippines Deal for 2017” by FinanceAsia

Mr. Serrano is recognized by the Legal500 as a Leading Individual in Banking and Finance since 2018 and is also cited as a Recommended Lawyer in Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets and a notable practitioner in Antirust and Competition.

Mr. Serrano is also consistently ranked by the International Financial Law Review (IFLR) as a Leading Lawyer-Highly Regarded in Banking and Finance Mergers & Acquisitions and Capital Markets in its IFLR1000 rankings.

In 2020, Mr. Serrano was named Asia Best Lawyer by IFLR.


English; Filipino


Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Financial Executives of the Philippines
Tax Management Association of the Philippines


Mr. Serrano is a Certified Associate Treasury Professional, having completed the Treasury Certification Program of the Ateneo-BAP Institute of Banking in 2017, and was among the top graduates of the Trust Institute of the Philippines in 2001.

Mr. Serrano holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Ateneo Law School and a BS Legal Management degree from Ateneo de Manila University.

Lawyer Rankings

Philippines > Capital markets

Equally proficient in the debt and equity markets, Martinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano frequently handles headline capital market deals, most notably for many of the largest Philippino banks. Manuel Gonzalez  leads the ‘very collaborative and very responsive’ team, which has primarily earned its reputation from handling initial public offerings, follow-on and rights offers, tender offers, reverse takeovers of publicly listed firms and issuances of global depositary receipts. On the debt front, it also acts as local counsel to domestic and international financial institutions and issuers in issuances of corporate notes, bonds and debt securities. Other key names include Elmer Serrano , Janice Co  and Gwyneth Ong .

Philippines > Banking and finance

(Leading individuals)

Elmer SerranoMartinez Vergara Gonzalez & Serrano