Q1 market volatility gives COL Financial a bottom line dent

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THE stock market’s poor performance in the first quarter has dented the bottom line of COL Financial Group Inc., the country’s largest online stock brokerage in terms of transaction volume.

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The stock broker noted its net income fell by 34.2 percent to P70.6 million in January to March from P107.2 million a year earlier.

COL Financial attributed its Q1 performance to market volatility in the first three months of the year, during which the average daily turnover plummeted by 37 percent to P6.78 billion from P10.87 billion in the comparable period.

As a result, COL saw its commission revenue decline by 23 percent to P118.2 million from P154.6 million.

Interest income slipped by 9.7 percent to P52.1 million from P57.7 million, as the poor market conditions prompted investors to trade less aggressively and reduce the size of their loan margins, COL said.

However, the company expects to recover from the financial setback.

“Given the country’s strong fundamentals, we are confident that the challenges currently facing the stock market are only temporary and that the long-term trend remains positive,” Dino Bate, the group’s president and chief executive officer, said.

The brokerage noted a record performance in terms of value turnover during the period.

As of end-March, COL registered a customer base of 171, 000, up 35 percent from 126, 396 year-on-year.

Its newly launched fund distribution unit, COL Fund Source, has accumulated 12,000 clients after less than a year in business, with P701.6 million worth of assets under its administration as of end-March.

COL said it accounted for 12.8 percent of the total net sales of peso equity funds of the mutual fund industry.

“Our initiatives which are focused on finding ways to better serve the Filipinos’ investment needs are clearly bearing fruit, as more and more Filipinos utilize COL’s online platform to buy stocks and mutual funds,” Bate noted.

COL noted it was able to maintain its position as the number one stockbroker in terms of transaction volume, while it remains eighth largest in terms of value turnover.

Its average return on equity was at 23 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

“What is important is that we continue to educate and encourage more Filipinos to save and invest. We believe that helping Filipinos enjoy a richer life will inevitably lead to higher profitability for the company,” he added.

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