THE number of stock market accounts at the Philippine bourse breached the one-million mark in 2018. — BW FILE PHOTO

THE RISE of online trading pushed the number of stock market accounts past the one-million mark in 2018, according to a report by the Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc. (PSE).

The PSE said in a statement Thursday that its 2018 Stock Market Investor Profile report showed there were 1.089 million stock market accounts by the end of last year, 25.4% higher than 2017’s 868,810.

The increase can be attributed to the 60.9% surge in online accounts to 625,763 from 388,864 in the previous year.

“It may have taken some time to breach this one million milestone but as they say better late than never. The advent of online trading has proven to be the catalyst for the rapid growth of stock market investors in the last five years,” PSE President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Monzon said in a statement.

Mr. Monzon added that they will continue to intensify investment literacy efforts in order to reach the next million stock market investors in a shorter period of time.

Retail investors accounted for 97.5% of total stock market accounts, while the 2.5% balance came from institutional investors. Domestic investors dominated the total accounts at 98.4%, while foreign investors owned the rest.

The PSE report showed that 51.6% of total investors were male, while 48.4% were female. This is an improvement from 2017’s ratio of 54.6% to 45.4% for male and female investors, respectively.

Investors aged from 18 to 29 years old showed the fastest growth for the year, as they increased their share of account holders to 21.5% from 16.2% in 2017. The 30- to 40-year-old range still comprised bulk of total investors at 43.1%, while those aged 45 to 59 account for 21.5%. The 60 and above range contributed the balance of 13.9%.

“Some people still have stereotypes of stock market investors which are debunked by our latest investor profile report. Investors nowadays are younger and a significant number of them are women,” Mr. Monzon said.

Meanwhile, 62.4% of investors revealed that their salaries were less than P500,000 annually. Those who earned between P500,000 to P1 million accounted for 21%, while those earning more than P1 million per year made up 16.6% of total investors.

“It also shows that it is not necessary to have a big salary to be able to invest, what is important is to know how to set aside money for investment,” Mr. Monzon added.

In terms of location, most investors still came from Metro Manila at 62.2%, followed by those in Luzon at 21.5%. Investors based in Visayas and Mindanao were recorded at 8.9% and 4.4%, respectively.

On the other hand, foreign investors in the PSE were mostly Chinese (23.7%), American (15.7%), and Japanese (10.3%). — Arra B. Francia