THE Shareholders Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL) wants to be an official member organization of the Capital Markets Development Council (CMDC), first by forging a deal with the Philippine Stock Exchange that would formally recognize it as a guardian institution in the country’s capital market.
SharePHIL President Francis Lim said the group might soon ink a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the PSE to become one of its member organizations so it could contribute in safeguarding the transactions and players in the capital market.
Lim said the group would also “apply for membership” in the CMDC by early 2016.
This, he said, is in line with the group’s view to protect shareholders’ interests by conducting investor education programs and pushing for legislations that can help shareholders.
Lim said the CMDC membership would be beneficial to both CMDC and SharePHIL, as the entrance of SharePHIL would strengthen CMDC’s mandate to formulate the capital development plan for the whole country.
CMDC is a public and private sector partnership focused on recommending policies and legislative reforms toward the development of the Philippine capital market.
“[The PSE] has been supporting us quietly, but it’s better if there’s a MOA [to formalize the partnership]…especially for investor education and for advocacies relating to the capital markets,” Lim said of SharePHIL’s envisioned deal with the bourse.
The SharePHIL president said the provisions under the MOA with the PSE are “geared towards investor education” to be able to strengthen the advocacy of educating the public regarding the stock market.
“They have very strong investor education, and we have our own resources in investor education. So if we can tie up together, help each other, that will be very good,” Lim said.
“Our advocacy is towards capital market-friendly laws to increase the investor base,” he added. “As per [Finance] Secretary [Cesar] Purisima, the number of accounts is not even one percent of our 100 million or so Filipinos.”
According to Lim, the tiny figure only stands for accounts [opened or trading in the stock market].
“A person can hold two to three accounts, so it’s even less than one percent of the population,” he stressed.
Such rate, he said, is small compared with neighboring countries like Hong Kong, which has a large part of its population who have investments, while Singapore has 33 percent of its people investing in the capital market.
“Imagine if all of us are investing in the stock market,” Lim pointed out. “We are not dependent on the in and outs of portfolio investments. And how do we do that? Educate the market. [Explain] what are the advantages of the market.”
Lim said SharePHIL could contribute much to both PSE and CMDC, as it plans to tap the government and pursue “making capital markets an independent subject in college education.”
Currently, colleges offer capital markets course only to those majoring in finance. But Lim said SharePHIL would “lobby with the government to make capital markets a stand-alone subject in college education” as a general education subject.
“That is regardless of the course; so that everybody comes out of college (knowing) the basics [of how the stock market works],” Lim said.
Established in 2011, SharePHIL is an organization aiming to educate the public on investing and how their investment can help fuel economic activity and development. The group also informs the investing public of their rights, duties, and responsibilities as stockholders of corporations and institutions.