Cebuanos told: Forget banks, invest in stock market

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Monday, March 3, 2014

TOP officials of a Manila-based securities brokerage firm urged young professionals in Cebu to invest in the stock market instead of putting their money in the bank.

Unicapital Securities Inc. (USI) president and chief executive officer Leonardo R. Arguelles, Jr. said putting money in a savings account will only yield returns of 0.25 percent compared to investing in the stock market, which would have offered returns of more than 200 percent by last year for those who invested in index stocks in 2008.

“The stock market is a good avenue for Filipinos to build their wealth. If there’s one investment channel Filipinos should take advantage of, it is the stock market as it mirrors the growth of the economy,” said Arguelles.


USI recently unveiled in Cebu its online stock trading platform called UTrade. Arguelles said they picked Cebu as their launching pad because of the province’s large untapped investor base.

Key city

“Bulk of investors in the stock market is based in Manila. We would also like to capture Cebu, given that it is the next key city after Manila, whose gross regional product is higher than the national output,” said Arguelles.

There is also a large presence of young professionals employed in the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM), he said.

USI is majority-owned subsidiary of Unicapital Inc.

UTrade provides investors direct market access and live stock information from the PSE. It offers a personalized service based on stock industry preference or chosen companies.

Track events

According to the company, UTrade is equipped with features that give investors a better feel of the market. UTraders can mark and track events and reminders through the UTrade calendar and are provided fresh and relevant information on a daily basis through various social media channels and subscriptions. Part of the personalized service is a live chat function that allows UTraders to easily communicate with their financial advisors during market sessions.

The firm targets young professionals aged 21 to 40 years old who are “tech-savvy” to enroll in UTrade. “The market now is heavily depended on information, and these kind of investors want real-time information right away,” he said.

Investors can start trading online for as low as P10,000. According to Arguelles, among the high-yielding sectors in the stock market include banking, infrastructure, consumer goods and property.

He pointed out, though, that choosing the right company and learning its fundamentals are important.

“It should be for the long-term. Don’t be impatient,” he said.

Growing trend

USI chairman Avelino Cruz, Jr., meanwhile, predicts online stock trading will eventually overtake traditional trading.

“This is now a growing trend in Southeast Asia which is seen to be fully adopted by the Philippines soon. In time, the volume of online transactions would be higher than the traditional way of trading stocks,” he said.

Like Arguelles, Cruz also urged Filipinos to participate in the stock market as this is “the easiest way to participate in the growth of the economy.”

Arguelles said the three credit ratings the country got is a “game changer” for the economy, “a tipping point where growth is irreversible already.”

He cited the continued growth of the IT-BPM sector, strong inflows of overseas remittances, robust growth in tourism, continued rise in the middle class, and the growing local and foreign investments as among the indicators that the Philippine economy is growing.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 04, 2014.


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