• First Metro sees millennial market boosting client base in 2017

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    FIRST Metro Securities Brokerage Corp., the stock brokerage firm of the Metrobank Group, expects to expand its client base by 30 percent this year, driven by new online accounts coming from tech-savvy millennials.

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    Gonzalo Ordonez, president of First Metro Sec, told reporters Wednesday night that the firm is aiming to attract more millennial clients, tapping and educating them to financial literacy.

    “Basically the driver is online [trading]… We want the online trading system to be really good, so that we can get more investors to come in. In terms of volume or percentage of the pie, it’s more of the FundsMart and the margin trading,” Ordonez said.

    On Wednesday night at a posh nightclub, First Metro Sec launched three products intended to attract the millennial market, namely: version 2 of the FirstMetroSec mobile application, online mutual funds trading platform FundsMart, and the margin financing scheme.

    The mobile app lets online account holders trade instantly through their phones anywhere they are. FundsMart is a trading platform that enables clients to choose from 23 mutual funds and trade according to their own assessment of the funds.

    Margin financing, on the other hand, is a trade scheme that allows a client with at least P200,000 worth of marginable stocks to borrow an investible amount—up to double the amount they invested —from the brokerage firm. This enables the client to grow their investments fast by putting down only 50 percent of the total equity.

    “In margin financing, if you have at least P200,000 worth of marginable stocks, that’s the minimum. Marginable stocks is not all of the stocks—we have a list of stocks that you can use as collateral. If you have at least P200,000 worth of that, you can apply for a marginal account, and you have to maintain at least P50,000. [The minimum amount] can go down to P50,000 eventually.

    “So basically if you have P200,000, you can buy worth P400,000. You can double the number of stocks,” he added.

    Ordonez said the move to the digital space through online and mobile application launches is to get millennials started in investing — whether in equities funds, fixed income funds, or mixed equities and fixed income funds.

    At present, more than 50 percent of First Metro Sec’s clients are the traditional institutionals, while the balance are online accounts. Majority of the capital market players are also in their 30s and above.

    “It is really enabling the Filipinos to invest, to think of their financial wealth — financial health first before spending. The millennials tend to spend a lot, right? If it’s easy and it’s accessible in your mobile, its instant gratification for them,” Ordonez said.

    Ordonez sees diverse income generating channels in the next three to five years, from FundsMart (30 percent), margin financing (30 percent), and combined traditional and online stock brokerage operations (40 percent).

    In 2016, First Metro Sec grew its client account base by 55 percent, comprised mostly of those in the 30-50-year age group.

    Established in 1994, First Metro Sec is the stock brokerage firm of the Metrobank Group. It offers equity brokering services and solutions to individuals, public and private corporations and other financial institutions. It is the firm behind First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund (FMETF) which tracks the performance of the top 30 stocks that comprise the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi).

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