A sector marked with excellence

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When a group of individuals invest their money on stocks, bonds, and other securities that is then handled by a professional money manager, a mutual fund takes place. Here in the Philippines, mutual funds remain to be seen as one of the most profitable financial vehicles, especially for those with limited knowledge of making their money grow. For as small as P5,000, one can already start investing in a mutual fund, giving him or her access to diversified portfolios that are managed by professionals who monitor the markets and optimize their clients’ investments.

For such advantages, mutual funds are being favored by individuals who are looking for additional means of income without the complexities and frustrations that might be entailed in other financial vehicles. With many companies offering diverse options, coupled with several online financial resources promoting this financial vehicle and monitoring its rapid activity, mutual funds continue to progress as an effective and a reliable investment tool.

A number of mutual funds in the country are already offering diverse products that aim to cater to the various preferences of individuals. Among 71 investment companies listed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as of Oct. 7 this year, there are 20 balanced funds, 20 bond funds, 19 equity funds, and six money market funds. There is one exchange-traded fund, dividend fund, and feeder fund each; while three other funds are found to be inactive.

Among the well-known subsidiaries or companies managing mutual funds include ATRAM Mutual Funds (ATRAM MF) under the ATR Asset Management​ (ATRAM) Group; BPI Investment Management Inc. (BIMI) under the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI); Cocolife Asset Management Company, Inc. (CAMCI) under United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corp.; First Metro Asset Management Inc. (FAMI) under the Metrobank Group; Philam Asset Management, Inc. (PAMI) under the AIA Group; Philequity Management, Inc. (PEMI); and Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. (SLAMCI) under Sun Life Financial Philippines.

BIMI is the fund manager and principal distributor of six ALFM Funds, as well as the Bahay Pari Solidaritas Fund and Ekklesia Mutual Fund.

ATRAM MF manages seven mutual funds across all types, while CAMCI manages one mutual fund each for the balanced, bond, and equity categories.

Established by First Metro Investment Corporation (FMIC) in partnership with Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines and Marist Brothers Congregation Philippines, FAMI manages seven mutual funds, plus the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) in the country.

PAMI has three balanced funds, three bond funds, two equity funds, and one money market fund.

PEMI manages two bond funds, four equity funds, which includes its own Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) Index Fund, plus the sole registered dividend fund in the country.

SLAMCI manages the largest family of mutual funds, the Sun Life Prosperity Funds, which consist of seven balanced funds, three bond funds, three equity funds, and two money market funds.

The Philippine Investment Funds Association (PIFA) serves as the tracker of the fast-paced movement of the mutual fund industry. Its Web site shows figures that indicate how the country’s mutual funds have fared from time to time. It also holds an annual awards night, recognizing companies in their exceptional performances in fund management based on the 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year returns on investment.

In PIFA’s 12th awarding last year, ATRAM MF received 1st place rankings in 5-Year Return, Balanced Fund (Peso Dominated) and 1-Year Return Equity Fund (Dollar Dominated) categories.

Out of the 12 awards BIMI won, it received 1st rankings in the following: ALFM Money Market Fund in 5-Year Return, Money Market Fund; ALFM’s Dollar Bond Fund in 3-Year Return, Bond Fund (Foreign Currency Denominated); and Solidaritas Fund in 3-Year Return, Balanced Fund categories.

CAMCI, meanwhile, bagged six awards. Its United Fund, Inc. won 1st place for the 1-Year Return category of the Peso Denominated equity funds, outperforming 14 other competitors. Also, Cocolife Fixed Income Fund, Inc. won 1st place in all the 1-Year, 3-Year and 5-Year Returns.

Receiving five awards last year, FAMI’s Save and Learn Fixed Income Fund won 1st place for the 10-Year Return, Bond Fund (Peso Dominated) for three consecutive years. Its Save and Learn Balanced Fund, meanwhile, won 1st place for the 1-Year and 10-Year Return, Balanced Fund (Peso Dominated) categories.

PAMI won six awards, among which Philam Managed Income Fund, Inc. is 1st place in the 10-Year Return, Money Market Fund category.

PEMI scored nine awards, with Philequity Fund as the top Peso equity fund for the 10-Year Return, Equity Fund category.

With 17 awards, SLAMCI was the most awarded asset management company. Three of its funds received top honors in five categories. Sun Life Prosperity Phil. Equity Fund, Inc. ranked first in 3-Year Return, Equity Fund (Peso Denominated). Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund, Inc. topped the 1-Year and 3-Year Returns, Money Market Fund. Sun Life Prosperity Dollar Advantage Fund, Inc. won 1st in the 3-Year and 5-Year Returns, Balanced Fund (Foreign Currency Denominated). — Adrian Paul B. Conoza