Published: May 23, 2019 | Updated: July 1, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Personal Finance
Looking to grow your money in the long term through investing in stocks? Gone are the days when only the wealthy can afford to buy stocks. Now, everyone—even college students and housewives—can begin investing through online stock brokers like COL Financial.
Stock investing in the Philippines is made easy and affordable for the average investor through online trading platforms. It’s worth opening an account with COL Financial if you’re planning to start as an investor even with minimal knowledge and experience in investing.
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COL Financial Group, Inc. (formerly CitisecOnline) is one of the leading and most popular online stock brokers in the Philippines. For around 20 years, the company has been offering an easy and affordable way for Filipinos to invest in the stock market through its online trading platform.
A beginner-friendly online platform for stock investors, COL Financial not only enableonls users to buy and sell stocks in the Philippine stock market but also equips them with the tools, knowledge, and up-to-date information they need to make smart investing decisions.
Its range of online trading and information services include the following:
Only you can determine whether an online stock broker fits your needs as an investor or not.
Doing your own research is the best way to know if this online stock broker is the right one for you. Here are the different things you can do to help you decide:
COL Financial conducts free two-hour seminars on the basics of mutual fund investing and stock market investing for beginners. Everyone who’s interested—COL client or not—may register online for a slot.
Seminars are usually held in COL offices in Pasig, Makati, and Davao on select days of the week, including Saturdays. Sometimes, there are seminars scheduled in the COL Investor Centers in Cebu and Ilocos Norte, as well as other parts of the country.
If you have little or no experience in investing, participating in one of the seminars is a good way to get a head-start in investing and to know more about COL Financial as a company and an online trading platform.
What’s great about COL seminars is that attendees gain a lot of knowledge and tips on starting their COL investment journey. The resource speakers aren’t salesy or pushy when it comes to encouraging attendees to sign up for a COL account. You can even ask them questions and listen to their responses (not just to yours but to other attendees who ask questions as well).
View the COL Public Seminar schedules here.
To get a feel of how COL Financial’s online platform works, register for a free seven-day trial of the platform before you open an account with COL.
For one week, you can explore the different features and functionalities of the online trading platform, taking note of the advantages and disadvantages of using it.
The final deciding factor is knowing how COL Financial compares to other online stockbrokers in the Philippines. There are currently almost 30 of them, so it’s time-consuming to compare all of them.
You may trim down your choices by comparing only stockbrokers that allow an affordable minimum investment of PHP 5,000 and below.
Here are the online stockbrokers you may want to research and review first. Explore their website, contact their office, read online reviews, and compare their features and services.
|COL Financial||PHP 1,000|
|FirstMetroSec||None for Metrobank accountholders, PHP 2,500 for depositors of other banks|
|Luckysec Online||PHP 5,000|
The advantage of COL Financial and other brokerage firms that are not tied to a bank over those run by banks like BDO and BPI is that prospective clients need not open an account with an affiliate bank.
For example, BDO Nomura and BPI Trade allow only their depositors to open a trading account with them. With COL Financial, anyone regardless of bank account owned can open an account for as low as PHP 1,000.
If you’ve decided to go with COL Financial, you need to apply for an online stock brokerage account first before you can start investing through the online trading platform.
Filipinos and foreigners here and abroad who are 18 years old and above may open a COL account. COL accepts applications from foreign residents in the Philippines and OFWs. An In Trust For account can even be opened for minors, which is ideal for parents who want to prepare for their children’s college education.
COL Financial offers three types of accounts that fit certain budgets, needs, and investment goals.
COL Account Type
|COL Starter||Beginners who want to invest in the long term||PHP 1,000|
|COL Plus||Active traders (Those who buy and sell stocks for short-term profit)||PHP 25,000|
|COL Premium||Premier investors||PHP 1 million|
For more details on each COL account type, click here.
COL Financial application forms
Download, print, and fill out the required forms for COL account opening. Or you can get a hard copy from the company’s main office (24/F 2403-B East Tower, Philippine Stock Exchange Center, Exchange Rd. Ortigas Center, Pasig).
Have your valid ID photocopied. COL Financial accepts government-issued IDs, such as the following:
Tax Identification Number (TIN)
All applicants are required to provide their TIN, regardless of their taxpayer status. Non-resident foreigners and unemployed Filipinos may apply for TIN by filing BIR Form 1904 together with a copy of the birth certificate (and passport for non-resident foreigners).
Additional COL Financial requirements
For opening an In-Trust-For account, parents need to submit a photocopy of their valid government-issued ID and birth certificate of the beneficiary/minor applicant.
Expats should submit their Alien Certificate of Registration or Work Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
To submit your COL account opening documents for verification, you may either go to a COL Financial office (or any iRemit branch abroad for overseas Filipinos) or send them via mail.
Those who will personally submit their COL Financial requirements may visit any of these COL branches that are open on Mondays to Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.:
If you live far from the locations listed above, you can mail your documents to one of those addresses. Use a standard letter envelope for faster delivery to the COL office. As soon as COL Financial receives the requirements you sent, expect a sales officer to contact you to schedule a video conference call with you.
After submitting the complete requirements, you’ll be issued an eight-digit COL account number. Keep a copy of your account number, as you’ll use this for funding your account and logging in to your online account.
To activate your COL account and start investing, you need to fund it through any of these options:
Make sure to fund your COL account within three months after you submitted your documents. Otherwise, you’ll have to file a new COL Financial application.
When funding your account, indicate the accountholder’s name and the eight-digit COL account to ensure that the payment gets credited to your account within one to three days.
To view more details on funding your COL account, click here.
Once COL Financial confirms receipt of your funding, your account will be activated. You’ll receive an email containing your account number and password. Use these details to log in to your online account. For the user ID, enter your eight-digit account number.
For your COL account’s security, change your password as soon as you log in for the first time. Here’s how:
Congratulations! You can now begin investing in the stock market using your COL account.
To confirm if your funds are credited to your account, log in and click “Trade” > “Portfolio.” You should see the Cash Balance table on the upper left part of the page, which shows the amount available for buying stocks.
Remember that trading in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) happens on Mondays to Fridays (except for Philippine holidays) from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. You can’t buy or sell stocks when the stock market is closed.
Note: The procedures for buying and selling stocks online discussed here focus on just the basics to give beginning investors an overview of what to expect when they start using the COL trading platform. Researching and keeping yourself updated on the latest in the stock market is a must before you start investing in stocks.
Buying or selling stocks involves placing an order on the COL trading platform. Here are the steps you need to take after logging in to your COL account:
Can’t buy or sell stocks online because you lost your internet connection? You can still place an order by calling the customer service at (02) 6-515-888. An agent will help you post your order. You’ll be charged a commission fee of 0.5% (instead of the regular 0.25% for orders placed online) for the service.
Once you’ve sold some or all your stocks, you’d want to withdraw your funds, of course. You can do it either online or manually.
If you are a bit hesitant in investing directly in stocks (which is understandable given the fluctuations of stock prices) because you’re still learning the ropes or too busy to analyze market trends, you can instead start with investing in mutual funds through the COL Fund Source. No need to register for a new COL account, as existing COL clients can access this feature within the online trading platform.