Before you can invest in stocks, you need a stockbroker.
What is a stockbroker?
A stockbroker connects the buyers and the sellers in the market. If you want to buy or sell a stock, you simply place an order and they will execute the trade on your behalf.
In exchange for their services, they charge a flat fee or percentage based on purchase or sale price.
If you’re looking to invest in the Philippines’ stock market, I recommend opening an account with COL Financial.
As of this writing, there are a total of 131 brokers listed on the PSE website and 27 of them are online brokers.
Why COL Financial?
I personally use their services and I wouldn’t recommend something I’ve never tried or used.
Since I started investing, I’ve never had any issues with them. Whenever I had some queries, I would simply send an email and things would get sorted out quickly.
Plus, they made it easy for me to open an account even when I was overseas.
Here are a few other reasons…
- They’re one of the leading online brokers in the Philippines.
- They provide free and exclusive seminars if you want to learn more about the stock market.
- You can sign up for a free trial to check out their trading platform.
- Get access to live stock charts, market data, and price ticker.
- Stay on top of the market with their timely company research reports, investment and technical guides, and monthly stock picks.
- Excellent customer support. If you’re a premium client, you’ll even have a dedicated relationship manager to make sure your account runs smoothly.
What I appreciate the most is their excellent customer support. Since I work overseas, knowing that I can rely on them whenever I need assistance is the most important.
Open an account
To open an account, follow these three easy steps…
- Download and fill out forms.
- Submit forms and requirements.
- Fund your account.
Step 1. Download and fill out forms.
Head over to https://www.colfinancial.com/ and click Open an Account.
Download all COL Account Opening Forms.
- Customer Account Information Form (CAIF) – This is the main application form.
- Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) – Additional form for US Resident Tax purposes.
- Online Securities Trading Agreement (OSTA) – Serves as a formal agreement between you and broker.
Fill out both CAIF and FATCA forms and keep the OSTA for reference.
Important things you should know…
Customer Account Information Form (CAIF)
- Fill out the Primary Account Holder section. If opening a Joint or ITF Account, fill out the Secondary Account Holder as well.
- Make sure to fill out all details and sign the form.
- You need to provide a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) to be eligible.
- For withdrawal purposes, provide your local bank account details. This will serve as a settlement account for easy withdrawal of funds.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
- You need to fill out this form whether or not you’re a US Tax Resident.
- If you’re a US Tax Resident, you will need to provide additional documentation. Please refer to the FATCA form for details.
Online Securities Trading Agreement (OSTA)
- Make sure to read the trading agreement.
- This serves as a formal agreement between you and COL Financial.
- By opening an account with them, you accept the terms and conditions for using their services.
Step 2. Submit forms and requirements.
When you’re done, gather all required documents and prepare to submit the application.
Here are the requirements…
- Photocopy of one valid government issued ID.
Resident Foreign Citizens
- Photocopy of one valid government issued ID.
- Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or Work Permit from DOLE
Non-Resident Foreign Citizens
- Photocopy of one valid passport.
In-Trust-For (ITF) Accounts
- Photocopy of one valid government issued ID of the parent.
- Birth Certificate of the minor applicant.
I was in Dubai when I opened an account. What I did was to attach a copy of my passport including a copy of my UAE Residence Visa. I had also included copies of recent billing statements (phone/electricity bills).
Though I’m not entirely sure if the latter was required but at that time, some people online suggested that applications coming from overseas would need to provide proof of residency in the Philippines.
To submit the application, you can drop by their office or send it by post. Since I was overseas, my only option was to send by post.
Here’s their business address…
COL Business Center
2403B East Tower, PSE Centre
Exchange Road, Ortigas Center
Pasig City 1605, Philippines
If you’re sending by post, make sure to use a standard letter envelope to avoid delay and unnecessary charges.
Once they have received your application, a sales officer will contact you via call or email to inform you of the status of your application and your COL Account Number.
You might even be requested to do a video conference to verify your identity. I didn’t go through this process but I know a few people that have gone through Skype interviews to verify their identities.
If I could recall, it took about 3 to 5 business days to process my application. And then I received a welcome email from COL Financial with my temporary login details to access the trading platform.
Step 3. Fund your account.
Once you have received your 8-digit COL Account Number, you can start funding the account.
The minimum investment capital is P5,000 which gives you access to a COL Starter account. If you have P25,000, I recommend opening a COL Plus account instead.
This provides access to better account features and allows you to maximize trading fees when buying your first few stocks.
To fund the account, you have two options…
- Online Banking via Bills Payment – This is where you transfer funds online. Just enroll COL Financial under bills payment and pay that bill.
- Over-the-Counter via Bills Payment – This is where you visit any of their partner bank branches and fill out a payment slip and pay with cash or check.
If you have an account with one of their accredited banks, I would suggest online banking for convenience.
Here’s a list of their partner banks including transaction fees…
Online fund transfers usually get credited within the day. Once your account has been funded, you can start buying your first few stocks.
That’s it! I hope you learned from this tutorial. If you have some questions, please feel free to drop me a comment below.
Thanks for reading!