Curious to know which investments for beginners are right for you? 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 in the stock market. 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. COL Financial for beginners is easy to learn. It's worth opening an account with this online platform if you're planning to start as a stock investor even with minimal knowledge and experience in investing.
In this COL Financial guide, you can easily learn the ropes and jump-start your stock investment journey.
What is COL Financial?
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.
Is COL Financial Legit?
Yes, COL Financial is a legitimate online stockbroker in the Philippines. It's a Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) trading participant, as well as a Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines (SCCP) and Securities Investors Protection Fund, Inc. (SIPF) member.
Since its establishment in 1999, it now has over 200,000 customers and PHP 62 billion in customer assets.
What Can You Do with COL Financial?
A beginner-friendly online platform for stock investors, COL Financial for beginners not only enables users to buy or 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 stock investing decisions.
Its range of online trading and information services include the following:
- Real-time execution of trades
- Automated order placement and execution online
- Access to real-time stock quotes and other market statistics
- Stock research reports and market commentaries
- Online portfolio tracker
- Price charting program and Ticker system display
Related article: How to Pick Stocks in PSE: Helpful Tips for Beginners
Is COL Financial the Right Online Trading Platform for You?
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 and choose the best online stockbroker in the Philippines.
1. Attend Free COL Online Seminars
Currently, COL Financial offers webinars on the basics of mutual fund investing and stock market investing for beginners.
Before, COL seminars were held in COL offices in Pasig, Makati, Davao, and other parts of the country. But because of the pandemic, COL Financial has made its COL Basic Investing Webinar available online on its YouTube channel. Everyone who's interested—COL client or not—may access these webinars for free.
If you have little or no experience in investing, watching this online seminar is a good way to get a head start in investing and to know more about COL Financial as a company and online trading platform.
What's great about the COL webinar 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.
2. Sign Up for a Free Trial Account
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.
3. Explore Other Online Stockbrokers
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.
|Online Stockbroker||Minimum Investment|
|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 BPI and Metrobank is that prospective clients need not open an account with an affiliate bank.
For example, BPI Trade allows only BPI depositors to open a trading account. With COL Financial, anyone regardless of the bank they have an account with can open a COL account for as low as PHP 1,000.
Does COL Financial Have an App?
As of this writing, COL Financial does not have a mobile application. You may access everything you need, from opening an account to withdrawing money, on the official COL Financial website (www.colfinancial.com).
How to Invest in COL Financial
If you're ready to start investing in stocks and mutual funds through COL Financial, follow these steps below.
1. Decide Which Account Type to Open
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.
You may refer to this table below for COL Financial's minimum investment per account type.
|COL Account Type||Ideal for||Minimum Investment||Services|
|COL Starter||Beginners who want to invest in the long term||PHP 1,000||Basic research reports, standard market information, and end-of-day charting data|
|COL Plus||Active traders (Those who buy and sell stocks for short-term profit)||PHP 25,000||Streaming quotes, comprehensive research reports, and live chart data with some customizable features|
|COL Premium||Premier investors||PHP 1 million||Access to a wide range of features and assistance from a dedicated personal relationship manager|
You can read more about each COL account type here.
2. Prepare the COL Financial Requirements
To open a COL account, you need to provide photos of your valid ID. COL Financial accepts any of the following government-issued IDs:
- SSS ID/UMID
- GSIS eCard Plus
- Driver's license
- PRC ID
- Voter's ID
Take a selfie with your ID and a photo of its back portion. You'll submit these pictures later when you open a COL Financial account.
Get a blank sheet of paper and put your three sample signatures (must match the signature in your valid ID). Place your valid ID (with the front side facing up) on the sheet. Then take a photo of your ID and specimen signatures.
SSS/GSIS/CRN and TIN
Employed and self-employed applicants are required to provide their SSS/GSIS number or CRN (Common Reference Number) and TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number).
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 the birth certificate of the beneficiary/minor applicant.
Expats should submit their Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR) or Work Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
3. Submit the Requirements to COL Financial
For your safety and convenience, submit the COL Financial requirements online instead of personally going to the COL office (which is most likely closed due to the community quarantine).
Simply visit COL's online registration facility at signup.colfinancial.com and upload the photo requirements.
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.
Note: As of this writing, COL Financial account opening is suspended until further notice due to system upgrades. Wait for an announcement from COL through its Facebook page on when it will accept applications again.
4. Fund Your COL Account
To activate your COL account and start investing, you need to fund it through any of these options:
- COL Business Center in Ortigas, Pasig
- Online bills payment through the online banking facility or mobile app of AUB, BPI, Metrobank, UnionBank, and other partner banks
- Over-the-counter bills payment (All partner banks, except for AUB and Robinsons Bank, charge a transaction fee ranging from PHP 7 to PHP 110.)
- Overseas remittance
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 again.
When funding your account, indicate the account holder's name and the eight-digit COL account to ensure that the payment gets credited to your account within one to three days.
You may also check this COL Financial for beginners guide for more details on funding your COL account.
5. Access Your COL Account
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:
- Under the Home tab, click on "Change Profile."
- Click the Edit tab next to "Password" on the second column.
- Enter your current and new password (Must be eight to 12 characters with at least one uppercase, one lowercase, and one number).
- Type your new password again.
- Click the Change Password button.
Congratulations! You can now begin investing in the stock market using your COL account.
COL Financial for Beginners: How to Use the Online Trading Platform
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 the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) operates shortened trading hours on Mondays to Fridays (except for Philippine holidays) from 9 a.m. to 1 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.
- 5 Things You Should Know As a Day Trader in Stock Market
- Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of the Stock Market
How to Buy and Sell Stocks in COL Financial
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:
- Click the Trade tab > Enter Order.
- In the Order Details table, tick the appropriate box (Buy or Sell) next to "Transaction."
- Enter your order details:
- Stock Code - The symbol representing a particular company listed in the PSE (e.g., ALI for Ayala Land, Inc., JFC for Jollibee Foods Corporation, etc.)
- # of Shares - The number of shares you want to buy based on the board lot assigned to your chosen stock
- Price - The price at which you'd like to purchase the stock based on its current quote
- Click the Preview Order button. This will show a summary of the order for your review.
- Enter your password.
- Click Place Buy/Sell Order to submit the order for posting.
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) 86515888. 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.
Related article: Ease Into Investing with Peso Cost Averaging
How to Withdraw Money from COL Financial
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.
Online Withdrawal Steps
- Log in to your COL account.
- Click the Trade tab > Portfolio > Withdrawal Request.
- Read the Terms and Conditions. Click the Accept button.
- Fill out the online withdrawal request form. You can choose to either have your funds deposited to your enrolled bank account or claim your check.
- Click the Submit button.
Manual Withdrawal Steps
- Download, print, and fill out the fund withdrawal form.
- Submit the accomplished form through any of these options:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax to COL's Accounting Department at (02) 86346958
- Call the COL Business Center at 6-333-777 to ask for confirmation on the availability of your check for pickup.
For more tips on how to use your account to buy and sell stocks, learn recommended stock picks, or monitor your investment portfolio, check out this tutorial on COL Financial for beginners.
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.
Furthermore, do your own research and watch helpful guides online to familiarize yourself with how this trading platform works. You can also check online reviews and other useful information on COL Financial for beginners to get a good idea if this is really the platform for you.
-  COL Basic Investing Webinars
-  Online stockbrokers in the Philippines
-  Account Type Details
-  How to Fund Your COL Account
-  Stock Code
-  COL Financial fund withdrawal form
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