Sunday, June 23, 2013

How I Opened Investment Accounts While Abroad





In the fall of 2010, a mentor introduced the words "investing" and "stock market" , which were an alien words to me. I've become so interested that I studied and I dipped my toes first in mutual funds while trying to know how to deal with stocks.

I have been investing in Philippine Mutual Funds and  Philippine Stock Market for almost 3 years now. I opened all of the accounts while I'm out of the country. I can't tell you the precise details on how I did it coz it's been quite a while, but I'll do the best I can.

It took me few months, lots of research and tons of emails to be able to open investment accounts in the Philippines but it has been worth it.


MUTUAL FUNDS


I have 2 mutual funds in the Philippines, First Metro Asset Management INC. (FAMI) and  Philequity Management, Inc.(PEMI). I opened those two while I'm here by sending the documents to them.  Some mutual fund offices, like Sunlife, requires to see you personally before opening an  account, so you need to check if it's still possible to just send the application via mail courier.

I did not go through any agents upon opening. My  initial investment was PHP 5,000, then I added to it every month. Now, I am investing on individual stocks more than mutual funds. 


BANK ACCOUNT


OFW should think of opening a bank account prior to going abroad. I'm one of the unlucky ones who did not think of it while I was still in the country. 

Upon deep researched, I found out that it's possible to open a bank account while out of the country because most of the big banks in the Philippines have branches abroad, but in my case, most of the branches are located in New York, which is 4 hours away from  where I am staying so I really need to take an off from work and plan it carefully.

March 2011: I rode a bus to New York and opened a Bank of the Philippine Island Saving Account. I brought my ID ( passport, birth certificate/SECPA, voter's registration ID) and downloaded application forms from BPI website. They told me to call them first before going back for a vacation in the Philippines so I can get my ATM while I am there, but to be able to set up a BPI Express Online, you need to have Joint Account Indicator (JAI), two numbers located in the ATM card.


STOCK MARKET


I set my eyes on CITISECONLINE ( COL) for my online broker. I also send my documents to them. The costumer service were superb, so I really love them. My COL account was approved few weeks after they received the documents. I let my mom fund it through direct deposit, but I grew tired of that process. I felt like it was too much hassle in my mom's side, so I really need to find a way to get my ATM card without me  going home so I can set up my BPI Express Online as soon as possible.

It took me a few months before finally getting my ATM, but not without effort from me and my mom. I went to Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. to get a Special Power of Attorney stating that I gave my mom a power to claim the ATM . The SPA cost me $25 dollars and I immediately sent it to my mom. After my mom received it, she went to BPI-Mactan Lapu lapu , Cebu branch to get my ATM. It took 3 weeks and  a lot of stressful negotiations before they released my ATM, but I was so glad it was over coz it was a stressful ordeal.
All that ordeal was worth it coz it is so easy to fund my COL. I send money to my BPI bank account and when the money is available, I then transfer it to my COL.

Few weeks ago, I wanted to open a BPI Trade as my second online stock broker, but I am having a hard time with it coz they need me to go to their nearest branch. I talked to a BPI Trade representative and she said that it's possible that my mom can open the account as long as she have a GENERAL POWER OF ATTORNEY from me, but the BPI manager in Lapu Lapu, Cebu doesn't seem to know how to go about the process. He said that he doesn't need to sign it and I should send it as is in their Makati branch. The application  form clearly says that a bank officer needs to sign  before sending it to their main office. I did not have much luck this time but I'm persistent and  hopeful that I can be able to open a second online stock broker within this year but not with BPI Trade, as I have horrible experience with them. I'll try  First Metro Securities, which is a stock brokerage company of Metrobank.

It's possible to open an investment account while abroad. You just have to be patient , persistent and resourceful. 

Happy investing! 


18 comments:

  1. you're lucky that you have the major banks there. Here in Beijing, there's nada. My online enrollment ordeal with Metrobank ended last week and that includes a personal visit to my branch when I was home earlier this month.

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  2. ung COR m po b s FAMI nasend sau tru e-mail or snail mail?tnx

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    1. Confirmation receipt was received by me through snail me. FAMI never sent me email with regards to me investments except answers to my questions.

      If you haven't received any COR yet,email them at FAMI@firstmetro.com.ph

      They answer you within 24 hours. State your name, state the date when you sent it and state the "guesstimate" when they might have received it. I did that too and had gotten awesome and swift reply.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Delete
  3. So far I only bought stocks through my US brokerage account, San Miguel and Ayala. I am intrigued about what you did and I am thinking of doing the same. I already have a BPI account, but I read this posting only now, just arrived a week vacationing in Manila. Would you mind sharing what stocks and mutual funds you have invested to? wiztracker

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  4. The MFs I've invested into are mentioned above. Since you are in Manila, you can easily open online brokerage account. Metrobank, BPI and COL are some of the well-known. 85% of my portfolio ( Philippines stocks) are blue chip. It's easy for me to pick blue chip stocks since I was born and raised in the Philippines and I kinda familiar with companies specially companies that I grew up with ( e.g PLDT and SM)

    Sorry, I can't give you more names of stocks I invested to. I don't want to be labelled "pump and dump"-er.

    Best of luck.

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  5. Can I open a savings account while abroad? Here in Egypt, there in no branch of a Philippine bank.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can but if you don't have Philippine bank branch there, aka Remittance Center which is ran by a Philippine bank, you can't open one. They won't let you open bank account without personal appearance. I wish I can but sadly, it's not possible. For me naman, okay lang yan. It's for safety naman natin mga costumers, right?

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  6. for FAMI, after you've open an account 5,000 initial investment, do you always need to add every month?
    I'm sorry I'm really not familiar, actually I'm planning on opening an account also but i have little knowledge on where and how to start. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Grace,

      I welcome you here in my blog..

      Don't be sorry oi, ganyan talaga pag start pa. It seems confusing but once you get the hang of it, it'll be a breeze!

      Anyway, once you invested your initial investment (Php 5k usually), you dont "need" to add every month. You can add but it doesn't have to be 5k na. you can add 2k or 1k even. But please do check ha the new rules coz that was 3 years ago pa. I never added na sa MF ko, so yah.

      Goodluck and welcome to the world of investing. Asking questions is the first step, you know and I am pretty sure you will start investing pretty soon.

      Delete
  7. Paano nyo po na send ung requirements nyo sa col dun po sa address na nakalagay sa site nila...din ano po ung mga requirements na inattach nyo dun...tnx po...sana mabigyan mo po ako ng info..tnx..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Hey Sam,

      I opened my COL account five or so years ago, as far as I can remember, I sent the COL application form which was downloaded sa website nila along with the 2 photocopy of my ID and latest bill (photocopy din) I sent it through FEDEX, which was about 60 dollars, may kamahalan nga pero I was satisfied naman kasi it arrived less than a week. But please do check ha? kasi baka may mga changes sa kanilang mga application rules.

      Delete
    2. Ah ganun po ba maam salamat po sa info at sa tulong po..
      Isa pa pong question regarding po dun sa eps or earning per share ano po bang bigayan nun...monthly po ba sya..quarterly or annually...gusto ko lang pong maliwanagan about po dun...salamat po ms..maria...

      Delete
    3. Earnings per share depends on the profitability ng company you invested in. I don't actually calculate EPS because I don't know how. Baka you mean dividend? Depends din yun,big companies regularly gives out dividends ( usually August and March)

      Delete
  8. Hi, sabi mo dun sa reply sa taas na hindi ka na nagdagdag so ibig mo sabihin noon kahit for example na 5k lang kahit di na dagdagan tas hahayaan na yun doon, pasensya na sa tanong ko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep,kahit 5k lang for life, your account will be fine pero if you want to dagdag, you can add kahit 1k many. No need to come up na ng 5k ulit

      Delete
  9. Hi Maria. I'm wondering if you've tried BPI Direct. I'm hoping I would be able to open a BPI checking account online without going to the branch overseas.

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    Replies
    1. Hi! The banks in the Philippines are very strict when it comes to that.Dapat talaga mag show up ka sa kanilang branch. No other way around it. Believe me, I tried. I have a cousin who is a manager in one of the major banks here, even she can't help me when it comes to opening bank account remotely. They've change the rules na daw due to money laundering thing and other reasons

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the info. That's what I thought. I should have open an account online before the rules were changed. Oh well, at least finally the BPI Direct updated their site (https://bpiexpressonline.com/p/1/1703/bpi-direct-frequently-asked-questions) to avoid confusions to those who are hopeful like me. Once I found a way to open an account online, I'll share it here. Paying it forward!

      Delete

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