I was so disappointed when I learned that OFWs in the USA cannot invest in mutual funds in the Philippines. Thankfully, though, we can still invest in the Philippine stock market. I took the money we earmarked for mutual funds and put it in the stock market through COL Financial.
COL Financial is an online stockbroker that has been around since 1999. It is considered as the number 1 online stockbroker in the Philippines. They are also recommended by Bo Sanchez and his Truly Rich Club.
I have read Bo Sanchez’s short book “My Maid Invests in the Stock Market” some time back and got intrigued with the stock market. I know that it has some risks, but if I study it and treat it as an investment rather than regular stock trading, I should be okay.
Another reason is that investing in the Philippine stock market is a way of supporting our country’s industries and companies. If you want to open a COL Financial account, just follow these instructions.
1. Learn about the stock market.
You need to understand the risks and rewards associated with it. It’s not just about the millions you can potentially get. It is possible to lose money in the stock market. Read books and blogs about it and decide if it is for you.
2. Choose the membership type you want to open.
It’s really easy to become a member. If you have PhP 5,000 ($100), you can open their Starter account. But if you have PhP 25,000 ($500), choose the COL Plus account. If you have P1 Million ($20,000) you can open their COL Premium account.
3. Fill out the application forms.
Download it here: https://www.colfinancial.com/ape/Final2/home/pdfs/Individual%20Forms%20complete.pdf. Pay attention to the Customer Account Information Form and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) form.
4. Make a copy of your government-issued ID.
When I opened my account, I submitted a photocopy of my Philippine passport and my US-issued driver’s license. They requested for a copy of my US driver’s license because I indicated that I am a Filipino living in the United States.
5. Send your signed forms by mail or courier to their office address below:
COL Business Center
2403B East Tower, PSE Centre,
Exchange Road, Ortigas Center,
Pasig City 1605, Philippines
Although I was in the Philippines in October 2017, I decided to save some time and sent my application forms by registered mail. But if you are in the USA and are not going to the Philippines any time soon, you can send your forms by FedEx, DHL, or LBC.
6. Once they receive your application forms, they will get in touch with you by email to acknowledge receipt of your forms.
They will also schedule a Skype call with you to verify your identity. This Skype call lasts for only about 3 minutes. The customer service agent who got in touch with me asked me to hold up my passport to the camera of my laptop. They then took a photo of me with my passport to verify my identity.
7. Wait for your account details.
After 1 business day, they sent me a confirmation that my application had been approved and that I need to wait for my account number and password. After another business day, they sent my account number and password. I logged on to their website and changed my password.
8. Fund your account.
Once I got my account information, I went to my online BPI account and enrolled my COL financial account for online bills payment. I then transferred funds to my COL Financial account. Other online payment options are online bills payment for BDO, Metrobank, Asia United Bank. You can also ask someone to deposit over the counter at BPI, Metrobank, BDO, and AUB. For overseas remittance you can use the following information:
- BDO Kabayan Bills (https://www.bdo.com.ph/personal/remittance-services/bdo-kabayan-bills-bayad)
- iRemit (www.myiremit.com)
- BDO Overseas Remittance
For full application instructions, please go to this link: https://www.colfinancial.com/ape/Final2/home/open_an_account.asp
9. Start investing in the stock market.
Do your due diligence and wisely choose stocks to invest in. I have chosen several blue chip stocks as part of my portfolio. But since joining it seems that my stocks have lost some value so I definitely need to implement some strategies that will help my stock portfolio appreciate in value over the long term.