We continue to pursue a regional ambition set nearly a decade ago when we envisioned First Metro as one of Asia's most respected investment banks. Our firm belief in Asia's growth story remains and is essential to our success in the years to come.
In June 2017, we marked a milestone with the start of the operations of our International Desk. Our goal is to cater to the financing and financial advisory needs of foreign firms exploring mergers and acquisitions, expansion, or partnership opportunities in the Philippines. Our strategy is to initially gain a foothold in markets such as China, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea where our parent firm, Metrobank, has built a strong reputation and presence through its overseas branches and offices.
Our International Desk will continue to view Asia's next-emerging economies such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Myanmar with great interest. We expect to see a number of exciting regional opportunities for deals, even for Filipino companies still awash with liquidity in acquiring firms offshore. We also plan to expand First Metro's reach outside the region and to continents such as North America, as we pursue our international aspirations with greater vigor and newfound confidence after setting up our International Desk.
First Metro signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bank of China (BOC), one of the four biggest state-owned commercial banks in China. The MOU establishes the business cooperation between First Metro and BOC in exploring further opportunities in Asia, adding more value to their respective clients and businesses. The key areas of collaboration between First Metro and BOC focus on the debt capital markets and debt-related transactions, which include debt securities underwriting and distribution, infrastructure finance, advisory services, and other business opportunities that will benefit both companies and their clients.
China National Heavy Machinery Corporation (CHMC), the third largest contractor of power projects and one of the top construction engineering companies in China, has tapped First Metro as its exclusive consultant in the Philippines. First Metro will provide advisory services that can assist CHMC in its business development activities in the country. CHMC aims to tap and secure projects in the country’s infrastructure sector, including the areas of power, transportation, water supply and sewage, metallurgy, and cement.
First Metro, through its fund management subsidiary First Metro Asset Management, Inc. (FAMI), teamed up with MSCI, Inc. to create the country's first locally organized consumer-related index tracker. The index, called First Metro Index on MSCI Philippines IMI (First Metro Index), contains stocks that mirror the Filipino's spending consumption potential and gives investors more opportunities to participate in the capital markets. New York-headquartered MSCI is a provider of investment decision support tools worldwide and comes out with its own methodology to pick a basket of investment securities that investors would want to come into. The performance of the First Metro Index is the index being tracked by FAMI's mutual fund, the First Metro Consumer Fund.
Our research collaboration with DBS Vickers Securities (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. through First Metro Securities Brokerage Corporation (FirstMetroSec), our subsidiary, aims to offer best-in-class equity research to local foreign investors and provide clients with investment ideas in the Philippines. In line with this partnership, FirstMetroSec annually participates in the DBS Vickers' Pulse of Asia Conference held in key cities worldwide. FirstMetroSec invites listed companies to join in and discuss their company performance and outlook with selected investors and clients.
First Metro forged a partnership with Japanese financial giant Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), along with its subsidiaries SMBC Nikko Securities, Inc. and SMBC Nikko Securities (Hong Kong) Ltd. The signed memorandum of agreement serves as the cornerstone of cooperation between First Metro and the SMBC Group in exploring opportunities in areas of debt capital markets, debt-related transactions, and financial advisory.
First Metro formed a strategic alliance in 2013 with Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings, Inc. (TTFH), a Japan-based holding company engaged primarily in the securities business. The alliance aims to broaden the two companies' product offerings and services for their respective clients. The partnership represents a significant step towards our goal of expanding our business coverage in Asia, opening up a more diverse client base for First Metro.
The MOU between First Metro and TTFH addresses collaborative and mutual endeavors that include information sharing on the economic environment and the corporate sector, as well as the promotion of certain investment banking businesses. Since 2013, TTFH's subsidiary Tokai Tokyo Securities Co. Ltd. has been trading through FirstMetroSec, constantly coordinating with its research team for equity investments.