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A Review of Online Stockbrokers in Philippines – COL Financial, First Metro Securities, BDO Nomura, Philstocks, MakeTrade & BPI Trade

In this blog I made a short review about online stock brokers existing in the Philippines stock market.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably read that Investing in Philippine stock market requires the service of a stockbroker. This is a non-negotiable and is the mandatory first step for anyone wanting to buy his first share of stock in Philippine stock market.

These brokers, or more appropriately called Trading Participants, place buy and sell orders in the Philippine stock exchange on your behalf as their clients. In exchange, they receive some commission for every buy or sell transaction they match for you. No matched order means no commission for them, no deduction from your cash balance.

Two Types of Brokers

Before, there were only people brokers.This is the chaotic scene you’ve seen in the Wall Street movie.If you have parents or grandparents who have invested in stocks, most probably they have done it through live brokers.They would contact their broker buddy thru a phone call, and instruct them audibly their desired transactions.And these people depend on their brokers’ updates newspapers’ business pages to get the latest updates in the market.


Photo credit

Thanks to internet!

The advent of technology makes almost, if not, all aspect of investing painlessly smooth.

Deviating from the traditional breathing warm-blooded brokers, we now have available brokers with an online platform, and are called … hmm, online stockbrokers (gosh, I’m so brilliant!)

Online stockbrokers make investing easier for everyone.
Aside from that, they charge you smaller commissions compared to live brokers. (That means savings for you!)

You only need your computer (or even a capable cellphone) and a fine internet connection, and boom!

You see the business world unfolding in your computer screen, real-time and live!

You see how the market moves. You see the most recent transactions. You see all the prices fluctuating. You see foreign money movements and how other investors are responding.

Practically all the information you need is on your screen and the option to buy or sell is with it.
More importantly, you can make money right after digesting all these info with your swift trades.

My Experience

When I started investing, I had Philstocks by Accord Capital Equities as my first broker.

No special reason though. It’s just that when I researched about online brokers in the Philippines, it was the first one I read that allows potential stock market participants to begin investing with just 5000 pesos. (I have shifted to COL Financial later on and opened accounts to other online brokers. Read related story My First Time.)

(You see, you don’t need a big chunk of money to actually start investing.)

But as you’ll soon know, other brokers have almost the same if not better offer.

COL Financial, BPI Trade, First Metro Securities, MakeTrade, BDO Nomura

COL Financial(formerly Citiseconline), and more commonly known as COL, for one will also allow you to open a trading account with the same minimum initial amount of Php5000.

They offer it to starters and and even came up with an investing program called EIP – Easy Investment Program. The phrase may sound exceptional, but I think they just made up that term to attract small-time investors – a.k.a YOU and ME, versus those who can start with 25,000 big cash. After all, both of them use almost exactly the same features of their online platform.

What’s better, you can actually open your trading account with even if you don’t have exactly 5000 pesos.

BPI Trade, FirstMetroSec and BDO Nomura for example, offer the same online brokerage service with the only requirement of opening an account with their counterpart bank companies – BPI, Metrobank and  BDO  respectively. This bank account will then be linked to your stock trading account, allowing easy and convenient transfer of funds between the two accounts thru online banking.

If you’re an OFW or one who lives in the province far from Manila or other key cities, online stockbroker BDO Nomura can be your initial choice since application can be processed and completed all online without the need for going to their office, which is the case for other brokers.
(Read here >> BDO Nomura Review – How to Open a Trading Account Online in Philippine Stock Market)

So what broker do I have now?

I actually have accounts in all of them: COL Financial, BPI Trade, Philstocks, FirstMetroSec and BDO Nomura. I also have an account in MakeTrade.

COL Financial and MakeTrade contains the big chunk of my investments. I also have some in my BPI Trade linked to my BPI ATM account. I don’t have as much trades in the the other three but I can check and access them anytime I want.

But mind you, I won’t recommend doing the same. I opened all of them just so I would know who’s the best of ‘em all, basing from first-hand experience with them.

Looking back, having one broker is enough.

Two is tolerable; say for example, you want to have separate accounts for your long-term investments and short-term trades because you just can’t control your itch to play too much.

Having three or more brokers is a meaningless exhibition. 😛 (Unless you really have your special reasons like access to several researches, or just want your money scattered everywhere.)

How to Choose your Online Stockbroker

Having that experience of using multiple online brokers, I propose the following considerations in choosing your own online broker:

1. Fees

The brokersI mentioned above charge you with almost have the same commission and transaction fees. For small-value transactions, the difference ranges from few centavos to few pesos. With an increase in value of your purchases, this difference will also rise in value. In this aspect, I can say First Metro Sec and BDO Nomura as they have the minimum associated fees possible. But because the difference can be really small, I suggest you based your decision not on this alone.

2. Convenience on flow of funds

This equates to convenience of moving your money to and from your stock trading account.

Online brokers with the bank counterparts, namely BPI Trade, FirstMetroSec and BDO Nomura, win in this aspect.

As previously mentioned, these brokers allow easy transfer of funds between your trading account and bank account through their online banking portal. As a result, you won’t need to do any manual intervention or effort except for the click-here-type-there role when moving funds in and out of the market.

COL for example, while allowing funding thru online banking (thru online payment to a third party), still requires filling-up a form, and sending it via email (or fax) when requesting for withdrawals. The opposite is the case for Philstocks – unless you do it by BDO online payment, you need to send your scanned deposit slip for funding. They won’t need though any form to fill-up for your cash-outs, but that would entail cross-banking charges (unless you request your check to be deposited to your BDO account). This of course is not a good option if other brokers let you do it all electronically without the unnecessary fees.

3. Online Platform Features

This is an important consideration if you’re doing swift trades – or trades that happen within a day or few days. Having speculative stocks for example (or stocks with no fundamentals) crucially require players not to be left behind from fast rallying or falling stocks.

In this kind of rapid market behavior, you would need a trading console that can show you all the relevant action – price movement, recent transactions, foreign entries and exits, etc; and allow easy entering of orders.

More importantly, you’d want your online stockbroker to be available online when you want to place your orders. Complaining that you can’t buy or sell stocks because of a system downtime of your online broker during market hours is the last thing you’d want to have.

Take note however that this is much less of a concern if you have a much longer time horizon for your investments; in other words, if you’re holding fundamentally great companies where price action is a lot less volatile.

In this aspect, good options are COL Financial, Philstocks and FirstMetroSec and MakeTrade.

I must also say that BPI Trade has just the most boring trading page. FirstMetroSec has also a platform quite similar to COL. It can be a good choice if you have an existing Metrobank account.

Maketrade and BDO Nomura currently uses the PSETradex trading platform.

Other online features and services that cater to more advanced market players can also be a factor.

MakeTrade, COL, Philstocks and FirstMetro for example have extensive tools like charting, comprehensive market researches, market calendars and similar useful content to help you guide in your trade decisions. They can be be useful tools if you aspire to be a skilled trader down the road.

Mutual Fund Options

Another plus for COL Financial and FirstMetroSec is the availability of Mutual Funds in their platform. This means if you open an account with either of them, you can actually buy not just stocks but also mutual funds. (Read here >> How to Invest in Philippine Mutual Funds Online)

This is practically useful for people who don’t want to do direct investing for lack of time and skills, but just want to take advantage of better projected returns with the growing economy of the country.

4. Customer Service

This is of low priority though, given that by the very nature of online brokers, we seldom make inquiries with their representatives. This also translates to receiving quick feedback when you ask them specific questions.

But you may also want to take advantage of free seminars they organize. Check their website for regular schedules.

Some go the extra mile to value high-profile clients.
COL Financial for example assigns dedicated Account Relationship Manager if you happen to be one of its premium clients (which should have a minimum of 1M portfolio). This resource person makes sure your concerns (mostly admin) are addressed quickly. They also organize special events for this group of Premium clients from time to time. Just recently (March 2017), I was able to join their Wine Tasting event at Marco Polo Ortigas. 🙂 )

My Comments

Before I give my comments, be clear that choosing  a broker is not as important as choosing stocks. Ultimately, your returns on your investments will heavily depend NOT on your broker but you as a self-directed investor making all the investing(trading) decisions. Your brokers’ services will at the most just give you their researches but the final decision will remain on your hands.

For starters, I recommend anyone of them.

Financial has EIP scheduler too you can use as your starting strategy. At any time you decide to do quick short-term trades, you can then just use the tools and researches available for you. Check this tutorial how to open an account in COL Financial.

First Metro Sec is also a great option if you have Metrobank account. They publish daily researches too and has lots of insights for traders’ pleasure.

If you’re going to be a passive investor and have BPI bank account, BPI Trade can be an option. They have minimal researches available though compared to other brokerage companies.

MakeTrade and BDO Nomura as mentioned use the same trading platform and are also good for traders. I see MakeTrade as one really good platform for aspiring traders with their automated charting feature called XTrack.

For OFWs or those far from Metro Manila who have an online BDO banking account already, BDO Nomura allows you to open an account with them all online. This is a good option if you don’t like the hassle of submitting the application forms physically or going to the broker’s office since. You just need to follow all the steps here which can be done all online >> How to Open a Trading Account Online in BDO Nomura.

What now?

Some of my previous blogs tackled the value of investing. And then I shared my first-hand experiences. And then I covered Saving as a prerequisite step for investing.

Opening a trading account is like going to a gym for a planned work-out. You’re done recognizing the need to exercise, and have actually already decided to go after it. But for some petty reason, each time you attempt and try, you just feel like it’s the hardest thing to do, and you’re back to point on the verge of going on or turning back. But once you’ve managed yourself, and enter that room with all other people working-out for their dream body, you’re suddenly back to your senses, and recharge what you’ve originally wanted and desired.

In chemical kinetics terms, we call it the rate-determining step – that crucial step that when overcame paves the way for the rest of the smooth steps.

So I ask you back the question – What now?

Have fun investing!

-oMeng Tawid

PS: As I said earlier, more important than choosing your broker is choosing what stock to buy. For those aiming for long-term investments, leveraging on “SAM – Strategic Averaging Method”, you can check out Truly Rich Club! I’ve been a member of it for years and has really helped me improve my finances.

As a member, I receive regular stock updates and wealth strategies; know what and when to buy and sell, plus mountain load of other blessings to manage and grown my finances.

Check if it’s for you here – Truly Rich Club!

PS2: I am not paid to endorse any of the mentioned online brokers. Those are all coming from my personal experience with them.

Find time to check their sites and see what best suits you.

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49 thoughts on “A Review of Online Stockbrokers in Philippines – COL Financial, First Metro Securities, BDO Nomura, Philstocks, MakeTrade & BPI Trade

  1. Pingback: Four Simple Investing Tips for Beginners in Philippine Stock Market | Smart Pinoy Investor - Investing and Personal Finance for Pinoys

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  6. Joan

    Hello sir Omeng. Curretly nasa stock trading na ako. Thanks sa mga blogs mo. May I know din sir kung may mga blogs ka on Forex? Thanks much

  7. Gary

    Hi Sir. Would you have any idea regarding investing in US based mutual funds and if I can do this using the platforms that you just have mentioned? Thanks in advance sir

  8. ryan miranda

    Hi Omeng, Just doing my research kung saan ako mag open ng Stock Broker. Great review. Nag open ako ng BDO Account and open UITF on Dividend Investing since naka base ako sa Toronto Canada. I’m doing research kung meron ba every quarter na nagibibgay ng Dividend sa Phils Stock. Gust to kasi mas malaman at matutunan about dividend investing dito sa bansa natin. I’m doing it in Canada and Dividend nila is every 3 months meron din every month depende sa Stocks. Meron ka ba ma advise website na ma compare yung history ng Dividend na binibigay ng bawat company with comparison to other company.

    I’m really interested to learn about Dividend Investing and wala ako balak ibenta yung stocks as long it is gives Dividend and increasing the Dividend Every year.

    Thank you for the review.

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  10. Pingback: Which is a better investment: Stock Market or Mutual Fund? – Smart Pinoy Investor – Investing and Personal Finance for Pinoys

  11. Ma Ru

    I don’t want it pushed to my Email.Should TRC becomes a paid member site for their paid stuff i’ll be a member.

  12. youtuber

    I don’t want to join the TrulyRichClub because of its religious bullshit, but I am really interested with the SAM tables they publish, can you post it on your blog regularly? Thanks!

    1. Sev

      I know this is more than a year old thread but I find it hilarious (and insulting at the same time) that you shun TRC for it’s religious activities but wants the SAM tables it offers and for free! Typical leecher attitude don’t you agree? There is a reason why it’s called Truly Rich Club and you my friend will never be truly rich.

  13. Grace

    For a start-up Investor, say how much would be the approximate income monthly or annually. Just base on your experience sir. 🙂 I’m actually curious.

  14. ange

    i live in Canada and i do my investment with Col Financial. How do i deal with CRA with my foreign investment since its tax season, should i get an accountant to do it for me or is there an easy way to do it your self?

  15. Jeff_Airplane

    Hi omeng, I don’t know if you will reply since the last activity shown was October last year. Chinese have this saying “hindi bale konti kita basta madami”. With that mindset being said, if you have enough money to buy stocks from different company, could you make it as your source of income? Because if we look at it if you are gaining some money though it is small, the sum of all of them could make a difference. What do you think? Because as what you have shown us, you have gained a little in investing in one stock. Imagine you have 5 of that could you imagine the sum?

    1. Omeng Tawid Post author

      Hi Jeff that’s true.
      thing with stock market is hindi regular ang income dito. Depende na ito sa market performance.
      But others look for companies with consistent history of pay out of dividends and are called income investors.
      These investors invest in these dividend paying companies and get their “regular” income from dividends.
      If mas marami kang shares na hawak nila, mas malaki ang dividend income mo. TEL is one of that. If you look at pay out history ni TEL, you’ll see it gives regular dividends for many years. Just be clear what purpose you have in buying a stocks – whether for growth (price appreciation) or income (from dividends).

  16. Real Estate

    Musta Omeng..

    Gusto ko sana magbukas ng account sa Col pero ang helpdesk nila hindi reliable,, either delay or paibaba ng sagot,, may kakilala ka ba na taga COL na reliable para matulungan ako makapagbukas. Dito ako sa Canada nakabase at sa real estate ako nakafocus,, gusto ko sana matutunan at subukan ang stock market diyan sa Pinas.


    1. Omeng Tawid Post author

      Hi @Real Estate, better clarify that with COL financial heldesk.. forward their conflicting replies if necessary.

  17. Max Tuanquin

    Attend the seminar guys they highly recommend this. Its free, also this is long term don’t make it as your source of income coz it’s not. You still need to continue your job, this is sort of a security but not guaranteed.

  18. Jonathan Nieves

    stock investing is not quick rich scheme,,you can either lose or earn money..But if you have an discipline and knowledge on what kind of stocks you want to will definitely earn than losing money..

    1. Omeng Tawid Post author

      @Maricar, Truly Rich Club only optional. you can start with COL muna and attend seminars. take note thought that it’s ideally for long-term purposes, not to shoulder daily expenses.

  19. Christian Cada

    Sir panu po iexecute ang trade ng cost averaging sa bpi trade? Ang option lang po kasi is daily,weekly at monthly…e pano po kapag long term pano po gagawin? Thanks po mga kabayan

    1. Omeng Tawid Post author

      @Christian, wala syang facility for that. what you can do is just buy every month without selling if that’s indeed peso cost averaging you want.

    2. Portcall

      I have come across an article that explains peso-cost averaging fully well. I’m not sure if it’s ethical to post the link here since it is from a ‘competitor’. It illustrates how peso-cost averaging works.

      The way I see it, peso-cost averaging is not just for bpitrade or COL. It can be used by anybody and for any platform and with any online broker. The idea is—one invests almost THE SAME AMOUNT and REGULARLY (like every month or every 15 days) EVEN IF STOCK PRICE IS HIGH, and more so if price is low. Over time or at the end of 5 or 10 years of investing, only then will the investor appreciate the “goodness” of peso-cost averaging. He will see the gains of his investments. BUT IT DEPENDS ON THE TYPE OF STOCK HE INVESTS IN. The company must be reliable, well-established, has long been existing and is seen to continue to exist for another 50 years, among other considerations.

      Peso-cost averaging is a personal strategy and tool. It’s a tool for actual computation of gains or losses on investments everytime one invests, or for forecasting gains or losses over time. But at the end of 5 or 10 years of investing, it will show how one’s investments will have earned via stock price appreciation. Good luck!

  20. carl lawrence leray

    Hi omeng if i join gold philippines can i get updates about SAM and how often? The membership of TRC is monthly basis or once I’m a member its lifetime membership already….thanks omeng!

  21. Troy Laforteza

    Hi omeng, i live in cagayan de oro so i am trying to decide which account is best for me. My first choice is COL as recommended by you and other friends i consulted. But since i live in cagayan de oro, i am worried about the way i transfer and redeem money with COL. Do you think i should go for firstmetro instead?

  22. Omeng Tawid

    yes SAM is inside Bo Sanchez' Truly Rich Club! you can automatically have access to it. to follow it or not is your decision though.

  23. rosalie santos

    if I pay for the membership of truly rich club, do I automatically use SAM? or do I need to pay for this tool separately?

  24. Rosalie Santos

    if I pay for the membership of truly rich club, do I automatically use SAM? or do I need to pay for this tool separately?

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