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Catalyzing growth: SharePHIL champions investing in the new normal

SHAREPHIL INVESTORS VIEWPOINT - The Philippine Star

The Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL) held its annual general membership meeting last Sept. 18. SharePHIL is a non-stock, non-profit organization that advocates for investor education and the protection of shareholder rights. The first shareholders’ rights organization in the country, it was formed in response to a 2006 World Bank study that encouraged the Philippines to establish an association promoting minority shareholders’ rights. Fueled by the support of industry leaders, the investment organization was founded in 2010 by a group of professionals and investors, together with members of business organizations such as the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).

SharePHIL takes its place in the institutional gover-nance infrastructure which aims to serve as a catalyst to develop a  dynamic and sustainable capital market and to create a level playing field among shareholders aligned with international best practices. Maynilad Water Services president and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez is now at the helm of SharePHIL as chairman of the Board with OCLP Holdings chairman, president, and CEO Jaime Ysmael as SharePHIL president; they are joined by some of the most respected names in the business community comprising its Board of Trustees.

Our purpose: Investor enablement

SharePHIL’s overall purpose is to enable Filipinos to invest wisely in order to achieve financial security and to contribute to the socio-economic growth of the country. It seeks to promote the long-term pursuit of financial freedom and goals to existing and prospective Filipino investors by making investing sexy and fun, as well as sustainable and rewarding. Through widespread investor education, SharePHIL will help in building a market of intelligent and committed individual investors. These efforts would eventually spur behavioral changes towards habitual investing and finally lead to a cultural shift towards wise investing and fiscal responsibility.

Guided by its core values of fairness, accountability, independence, transparency, and honor, SharePHIL aspires to help produce investors who are more discerning in making investment choices, participative in the capital market, and engaged as a shareholder. In order to achieve its overall purpose, SharePHIL established the following strategic pillars:

1. To educate by providing relevant and enriching content and knowledge support.

2. To equip investors by providing a framework to adopt an investing mindset and the tools to progress.

3. To empower investors by promoting behavioral change towards a culture of investing, and support policy reforms that benefit retail investors.

Investing in the new normal and ever-changing landscapes

Our country’s stock market investor profile for the past few years has shown interesting developments. There was an increase in the number of investors from the younger demographic (18 to 29 age group), which in 2019 comprised 21.7 percent of the total stock market account holders compared to 21.5 percent in 2018 and 16.2 percent in 2017. Women investors are also on the rise as they occupy 49.8 percent of retail investors in 2019 from 48.4 percent in 2018 and 45.4 percent in 2017. A significant portion of retail investors from the lower income bracket (earning less than P500,000 every year) still maintains a commanding 59.4 percent of retail investors in 2019, slightly lower from 62.4 percent in 2018 and 42.3 percent in 2017. These trends are expected to continue in the long term.

As the Philippine economy reels from the COVID-19 pandemic, SharePHIL faces a challenging environment. Filipinos struggle with the effects of the pandemic – such as maintaining sources of income and satisfying basic needs – which would deter them from investing. In overcoming these hurdles, SharePHIL aims to develop programs that account for pandemic effects, including comprehensive materials developed for educating existing or prospective investors and for driving policy improvements.

From another point of view, the COVID-19 pandemic can also be seen as a catalyst for boosting capital markets and fostering wise investing. Discerning, long-term investors who invest in today’s markets stand to gain in the long run especially as markets recover. By addressing barriers to retail investors and empowering them through investor education, SharePHIL seeks to make investing in the capital markets easy, affordable, and transparent for everyone to help build wealth at every stage of their lives.

SharePHIL is poised to play a major role in providing investor support and education in light of these developments. Its initiatives complement the efforts of the SEC with its own CAMPAIGN Network for investor education that aims to impart knowledge to Filipino investors in order to efficiently participate in the corporate sector and the capital markets. As a growing organization, SharePHIL is looking for like-minded capital market professionals who would also like to champion investor education and protection of shareholder rights, as well as current and aspiring retail investors who would want to know more about their rights as shareholders and learn investor relations standards for evaluating publicly listed companies.

With a growing number of Filipinos investing in the context of a new normal and ever-changing landscapes, SharePHIL strives to make an inclusive impact for the benefit of all and an impactful inclusion towards uplifting the lives of Filipinos.

To learn more about SharePHIL, visit sharephil.org or join the Facebook Community at fb.com/sharephil and the YouTube Channel https://bit.ly/SharePHILonYT.

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