How to choose the perfect and best online stock broker in the Philippines? This is probably the most common question that beginner trader or investor needs to answer not only in the Philippines but worldwide.
How about you? Do you also want to open an online investing or trading account to participate in the Philippine Stock Exchange?
The number of Filipinos investing and trading in the Philippine Stock Market is growing year after year. It seems that many are becoming aware of this investment medium to possibly grow their wealth and to beat inflation. I can actually guess why you are here. Because you want to do the same :-).
There are over 300 companies listed in PSE that are available for the public to invest in. The possible ways to buy shares of these companies is through traditional, and online stock brokers.
In this post, I will share the 4 essential factors to consider when choosing the best online stock broker that fits your preference. This will help narrow down your choices so it will be a bit easier to select the perfect one.
There are hundreds of accredited stockbrokers in the Philippines that are into traditional, and or online stock brokerage services.
For beginners, it can be overwhelming to choose the right broker to trust for the long term that you will be investing or trading in the Philippine Stock Exchange. So, I hope this guide will be of help to you.
What are stock brokers? According to Investopedia, Stockbrokers are simply defined as a licensed professional or registered firm that performs the buying and selling of stocks /shares on behalf of their respective clients. The clients can be a trader, investor and also an investment company.
In return, stockbrokers receive compensation in a form of commission for the transactions that they have made for their clients. The commission amount is relative to the peso value of the transaction.
4 Essentials when Choosing the Best Online Stock Brokerage Firm in the Philippines
There are many factors to consider before you choose your preferred stock brokerage firm. In my experience, here are the most common essential things that you can consider when choosing one.
Ease of Opening an Online Account and Minimum Starting Balance
You have to consider the process of how you can open an online account. Especially, if you are a beginner based in the Philippines, more so if you are working overseas (OFW). The ease of acquiring the requirements and how to send it to the broker. It can be a hindering factor to some, that is why they don’t pursue their plan to invest in PSE.
Aside from that, you also need to consider the starting minimum balance of the broker. Simply because even if you have all the documents, but you do not have the funds, then starting your online account will just be delayed. There are also top-of-the-line online stock brokers that require a premium starting balance.
Depending on the broker’s requirement, you can open an online account with just Php 1000.00. There are brokers that require a minimum of Php 5000.00, 20000.00, 50000.00, to as high as Php 1 Million.
Trading Platform, Features, Charting Tools, and Ease of Use
The things I will mention are crucial, particularly if you plan to become a short-term stock trader. You need a state-of-the-art feature such as the availability of the mobile apps, aside from the usual desktop (web browser) based trading platforms to buy and sell stocks with ease. An example of the mobile app is from Philstocks:
Another question is whether the trading platform for both mobile app and desktop is easy to use. This is a big concern if you will be into day trading. The number of steps to execute a trade is a big factor to maximize potential gains and minimize losses. It is advisable for beginners to open a demo account to get a first-hand answer to this question.
Almost all the online stock brokers I have stated in this post allow prospective customers to open a demo account, which you can try for a certain number of days. Take advantage of that opportunity to check the user experience of the broker’s trading platform.
You also need to consider the availability of charting tools because you need it when studying stocks chart patterns.
Ease of Funding and Withdrawal
There are online stock brokers that are tied-up with banks. Consider your existing bank account, and also the tied-up banks of the broker. The reason is, to minimize incurred extra charges every time you will fund your account, and also when withdrawing your earnings.
OFWs sometimes need to visit a remittance center in their host country to send money to fund their trading account. Unfortunately, only a handful of Philippine-based banks have ties with remittance centers abroad. Consider that too!
Several online stock brokers can deposit your earnings directly to your bank account upon your request. This is a good feature to minimize hassle on your part. You do not need to receive your earnings in the form of a cheque.
Here is my sample withdrawal request emailed by my stock broker:
Customer Service Assistance
This basically is how the broker’s customer service representative responds to your queries and provides fast and accurate assistance.
You can gauge this by opening a demo account. Send them an email to know how fast they would respond. Ask them questions regarding their features to see if they will be able to persuade you to open an online account with them.
After considering all the factors I have stated decide which among the online stock brokers deserve your trust to be your partner in your stock trading and investing journey.
To kickstart your search for a worthy brokerage firm. I have listed here the stockbrokers that offer have an online trading platform.
Choosing the right stock brokerage company is a difficult task. After all, you will use their service for a very long time (like years or decades). You have to access their trading platform from time to time especially when buying and selling stocks. You also have to talk to their customer service when you encounter issues with your trading platform. Eventually, when your investments grow bigger, you have to withdraw some profits and dividends from your funds.
This is why you have to think things out when choosing a stock brokerage company. And I hope the factors I listed in this post will help you decide when choosing the perfect stock broker for you.