Phl faces another setback

Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - July 7, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Another challenge hounds the Philippines in the upcoming ASEAN integration – the capital market.

To date, still a large number of Filipinos are not keen on investing or are still “immature” when it comes to investing in stocks.

The attitude and discipline of Filipinos toward investment are two areas that need to be kept up in order for the nation to gain the benefits of the financial integration, said Marco Nino Velasco, business development officer of UniCapital Securities, Inc.

“In other ASEAN countries, mas mature ang mga tawo when it comes to investment,” he told The FREEMAN in an interview. “People there are talking about stocks, they are very open and they even have stalls there where    they can buy stocks.”

Unlike in the Philippines, majority of the people are more aware about the “Lotto” (a lottery game similar to bingo) which, Velasco though said, can well be understood because of difference in cultures.

However, even if Filipinos see things differently from the way other nationalities do, financial education must be instilled in them so they will become more responsible and knowledgeable on money matters.

“You know we can actually see the difference. People in other countries save and talk about investments,” the stock broker explained. “But people here are used to spend because we’re taught only how to make money but we’re not taught what to do with that money.”

Few “Juan” in stock market

It’s sad to note that most foreign investors and big businessmen are dominating the country’s stock market and only few people from the “masa” level are participating in it, Velasco added. “The problem right now is that a lot of Filipinos are not involved in the stock market.”

What is happening now may be a “small version” of what will happen in the future when foreign funds and investments will have more access into the market here because of financial integration among Southeast Asian countries.

He said, “they are in control of our market which though kung mahitabo pud ang integration that could also be an advantage if you are an investor of the PSE (Philippine Stock Exchange).”

This is so because the AEC Blueprint 2015 will enable capital to move freely within the ASEAN region, with investors able to invest and free to raise capital in different ASEAN markets.

With the integration, investors can easily trade with other countries’ stock markets and learn from them new things on how they go about their system. 

And Filipinos should realize this and should be engaged to become part of the capital market and think about how they can raise money from this investment.

But it seems ordinary people have this wrong notion that stock investment is only intended for the rich people and is very difficult to understand and too risky.

“Well, the resistance to learn is one big problem. It’s just simple but not easy in the sense that you have to do your homework and study the charts as an investor.”

Presently, Velasco said the country’s stock exchange is very small in terms of volume compared to that of Thailand and Singapore for example, but it has an advantage when it comes to the quality and competent companies it has listed.

He said, although the participation of young professionals in the market is increasing, reaching out and introducing stocks to “Juan” who only accounts for three percent of the stock market must be geared up to boost their awareness.

And that something should be done to raise the percentage and there is no other powerful way to make Filipinos financially aware than educating them.  (FREEMAN)



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