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Stock brokerage firm seeks to attract retail investors

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By Arra B. Francia
Reporter

PAPA SECURITIES Corp. launched an online trading platform in a bid to attract more retail investors and increase the number of active traders in the local stock market.

The stock brokerage firm formally unveiled last Friday P2P Trade Online, a trading platform that provides investors with real-time data on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)’s performance, updates on company issues, and advice on what trades to make, among others.

P2P Trade Business Head Arbee B. Lu noted that out of the country’s population of more than 107 million people, only 0.8% or around 800,000 people are exposed to the stock market. This is a far cry from countries such as China and Australia, where more than 50% and 60% of the population invest in the stock market, respectively.

In terms of active investors, or those who actively manage their own portfolios, the figure drops further to 0.3% of the population, or only around 300,000 people.

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“This is one of the things we want to solve. Aside from promoting stock market ideas, we want to make sure that people can start investing so that active investors can increase,” Ms. Lu said in a presentation during P2P Trade’s launch in Binondo last Friday.

Institutional investors currently account for more than 90% of Papa Securities’ business, with only less than 10% from retail investors. With the launch of the new trading platform, said they hope to grow the share of retail investors to about 25%.

“We’re used to institutional, so we’re looking for the high net worth retail market… We want to shift it to maybe initially 75% to 25%,” Ms. Lu said in an interview after her presentation.

“We wanted to start with the Binondo area, because that’s where a lot of business is alive. And a lot of people are willing to relatively newer financial markets such as the stock market. (We’re) hoping that with how much expertise we have in terms of providing investment advice, we’ll be able to penetrate that market.”

Papa Securities’ online platform has two segments, namely P2P Trade Plus and P2P Trade Ideas. The former is used for easy stock monitoring and fast trade execution.

“In a single screen, users are able to view as many as 24 stocks, the top index gainers and losers, user portfolio status, foreign flows, and much more,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, P2P Trade Ideas connects clients to immediate market updates, daily stock recommendations, and educational materials to enhance a users’ financial and market literacy. Premium clients will further have access to a feature called the Core Portfolio, which shows the firm’s top three stock picks.

Papa Securities, which is one of the top 20 out of 131 brokerages in the country, requires a minimum investment of P5,000.

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