Call him Hans: Soft-hearted, artsy tycoon

Apart from making sure that his empire is sound, multi-billionaire Hans Sy, the fourth son of the late business tycoon Henry Sy Sr. of the SM Group, has one thing to brag about — that he changed the life of a neglected child that was thrown in a trash bin many years ago.

Being busy with his enterprises, Hans has been a philanthropist through its corporate social responsibility, SM Cares, serving customers and supporting communities.

It is said that Hans has this special heart, especially for children who experience challenges during infancy. This was when he was informed that an abandoned male newborn baby was discovered in a trash bin in one of the family’s SM malls.

Without hesitation, Hans decided to shoulder the baby’s medical expenses, entrusting him to an orphanage. The child later found his happy-ever-after family in the United States.

Hans is also a proud benefactor of Child Haus Manila, a temporary shelter indigent patients from different provinces who have cancer or other dreaded diseases and have no place to stay in Metro Manila while undergoing medical evaluation or treatment. It provides free room and board to its residents.

Child Haus, which veteran hairdresser Ricky Reyes established, is run along the principles of hospice care and promotes the concept of holistic healing through its various programs, services, and activities.

It all happened one night when Hans Sy, who was watching the TV with the late Henry Sy Sr., saw the philanthropist and beauty guru Reyes crying and pleading with the government to stop an eviction on the news.

Reyes’ Child Haus was on the verge of getting evicted from the property where it was built.

Little did Hans know that his curiosity about why Reyes was crying on TV would be the start of something that would change his life forever.

“When he explained the incident, I felt that children should not suffer like this, and then I told Ricky, ‘Can you show me where you moved them temporarily?’ When I went to the house, it was so crowded and felt (that) this is not the right way. So immediately I decided to buy a house for them,” Hans recounted.

After just a few months, Hans handed Ricky the keys to the house he bought in Quezon City. This became a halfway house for cancer-stricken kids and their parents for over three years. As the need for a bigger and better shelter emerged, Hans did not hesitate to lend a helping hand to them. Hans, then the chairperson of the Executive Committee of SM Prime, bought a piece of land near the Philippine General Hospital and built a seven-story building.

This building, which he bought and built using his own money, was donated to Child Haus as its permanent home during his 60th birthday.

Fascinated with paintings, a good mentor

Hans is an art collector too, which started when his late father, Henry Sr., familiarized him with a family friend, Spanish-born Filipino painter Juvenal Sanso.

To date, Hans owns a collection of 165 pieces from the acclaimed visual artist alone.

Also, the tycoon is a good mentor in building his empire, as he does not believe in nepotism.

Unlike other wealthy business moguls who made it easy for their children to inherit their empire, Hans wanted his kids to prove their worth.

Instead of giving positions to them on a silver platter, he groomed a non-relative. He warned them that he could hire a family outsider, encouraging the third generation of Sys to elevate their game — a true trait of an influential and celebrated businessman.

Hans was among the Sy siblings hailed by Forbes Magazine as the country’s wealthiest moguls, along with his five siblings, Tessie, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Harley, and Herbert, with a combined net worth of $12.6 billion from its diversified enterprises.

Last March 2022, Hans even ramped up his stake at the China Banking Corp., acquiring 875,400 CHIB at a price range of P25.80 to P26.

The bank’s chairperson increased his stake to 5.26 million shares with a current market value of P140 million, also ramping up his stake in CHIB by four percent or 157,000 shares year on year to 4.383 million in 2021.

The Sy family owns 38 percent of CHIB.

He also serves as an adviser of SM Investments and chairman of National University.

And as of 25 September, Hans’s wealth was at $2.1 B, according to Forbes.

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