TOTAL stock market accounts went up 13.7% to 1.396 million last year as the pandemic prompted investors to sign up online to trade in the local bourse, the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE) said.

Of the total, 67% were comprised of online accounts while the remaining 33% were made up of non-online accounts, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The preference for opening online accounts continues to rise since technology has made investing more accessible to investors. At the PSE, we also continue to enhance and develop online services that will benefit the investing public,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said.

According to the stock market operator, online accounts increased 19.7% to 936,200 in 2020 against 782,118 the earlier year, while non-online accounts rose 3.3% to 460,553 from 445,920 in 2019.

Of the total stock market accounts, retail investors held 97.9% or 1.366 million accounts while institutional investors cornered 2.1% or 29,898 accounts.

PSE added that 98.5% or 1.376 million accounts were held by local investors while 21,233 accounts were owned by foreign investors.

“We noted that there was a 35.6% increase in the number of active accounts last year. The pandemic prompted retail investors to actively participate in the stock market,” Mr. Monzon said.

Meanwhile, PSE said that based on its 2020 stock market investor profile report, male investors made up 50.8% of the total stock market accounts while 49.2% were owned by female investors.

Investors aged 30 to 44 years old held 45.6% of total stock market accounts, followed by those aged 18 to 29 years old at 22.5%. Those in the 45-59 age bracket accounted for 19.8%, while investors aged 60 years old or older made up 12.1%.

Further, PSE said retail investors earning less than P500,000 annually took up 61.2% of stock market accounts, trailed by those earning P500,000 to P1 million at 21.6%, and those with income of more than P1 million at 17.2%.

Domestic investors took up 98.3% of stock market accounts while overseas-based investors held 1.7%.

Of the domestic investors, 75.7% were based in Metro Manila, followed by 13.5% for the rest of Luzon, 5.7% in Visayas, and 3.4% in Mindanao.

“The real estate investment trust (REIT) listings we’ve had attracted a good number of retail investors, particularly local small investors who use PSE EASy for their initial public offering (IPO) subscriptions. We expect the upcoming IPOs and REIT listings to continue to support the growth in retail investors,” Mr. Monzon said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave