Trading goes high-tech and social in the Philippines


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The vast majority of advice oriented toward Filipino founders starts after the eureka moment: How do you build your startup idea into a thriving company? But how do you get yourself in the position to take that leap in the first place? After all, pursuing your startup dream is a luxury — you need to have some level of financial security to do so.

Launching a business is a full-time job, and it’s one that costs more than it earns, especially at the start. There needs to be a greater level of discussion on how Filipinos can make investments towards financial freedom — allowing startup founders to save ownership of their company rather than rely on raising venture capital and giving equity away.

So how then can Filipino entrepreneurs earn? One unique solution is trading on platforms like eToro, which was itself founded in 2007 as a startup in Europe and is now the world’s leading social trading platform. The operative word in eToro’s description is social, especially given the history of the Philippines.

In 2008, Universal McCann proclaimed the Philippines as “the social networking capital of the world,” owing to the voracious Filipino embrace of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Filipino usage rates of social media sites both old and new continue to remain at an all-time high, and points to our cultural affinity for connection. We like socializing. We love social.

eToro combines the often intimidating world of financial-technology with social networking, and in doing so, makes the former much more accessible. The core premise is simple: eToro users can browse key information from fellow investors, including their risk score, portfolio composition, track record, and other key metrics.

If a user likes the investment profile of Popular Investors (PI), selected top performing traders and investors on eToro, he can choose to copy these PIs as part of eToro’s patented CopyTrader feature. Doing so emulates their future moves of that traders’ portfolio: For every investment they make, your portfolio will automatically make the same one in proportionate terms.”

In short, copying traders removes the guesswork of trading and enables even newbie investors to confidently make investments.

The kind of copy trading that eToro empowers should be of particular interest to Filipinos given the current state of our local market. Just a few short years from its perch as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the local economy in the Philippines has stalled, underperforming vis-a-vis other Asian counterparts. This downtrend presents a very gloomy investment outlook for the Philippines.

eToro can be viewed as a gateway: It not only opens up Filipinos to investment opportunities across the world — the platform has over 1300 stocks, 47 currency pairs, 15 cryptocurrencies, and many other financial instruments — but also makes it easy to begin doing so. The company has already held two widely-attended local events, bringing together local investors interested in joining the more than 10 million users already on the platform.

Beyond the local programming, Filipinos can turn to the very active eToro online community, which has all the dedicated features you would expect of a social platform. You can share information with fellow traders, discuss strategies with people all over the world, and comment — leveraging the collective wisdom of the crowd to make more informed investment decisions.

eToro is already turning heads in the region. 80 percent of new users from Southeast Asia began their eToro journey by investing into cryptocurrencies, before quickly expanding into other more traditional financial instruments to create a more diversified portfolio. The company’s leadership in the region is hoping it can make the same impact in the Philippines, converting more Filipinos into smart global traders.

The advent of eToro in the Philippines is a boon for the startup and tech ecosystem as a whole. As more Filipinos generate passive income from copy trading, they can gain the financial flexibility or freedom to pursue even more high value investment activities, such as building the kind of company that one day other Filipinos might invest in.


Gracy Fernandez is the CEO and founder of Graventure, the first web and app-based car rental platform in the Philippines.