Colfinancial bullish despite weak trader sentiment


    Online stock brokerage firm remains optimistic amid a continuing increase in client base at an average of about 3,000 active accounts, despite the generally weak traders’ sentiment in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

    “We are happy with what we are seeing despite the slowdown. The net new flow is still positive,” said Dino Bate, president, as he noted how the stock market has been quite unappealing for traders given its aborted rise for the year.

    Bate pointed out the stock market would open strong in early part of the year for the past two years, but later fizzle out in the latter half.

    “We’re seeing still a steady growth number. Although in percentages it is slowing down, but the number is big because we now have a bigger base. But the numbers are still there, a little bit over 3,000 accounts every month. It’s still very good for us,” Bate said.

    He added while some online brokerages are reporting faster growth in new accounts due to incentives and aggressive marketing, “I don’t think they are as engaged as our customers.”

    “New accounts are just leads that they have converted. Although they’ve opened an account, but to convert, consistently adding money is more important. That’s why the numbers we are looking at is customer growth and net new flows. It should be adding to volume,” he said.

    Bate also said growth in client base should be complemented by a positive net new flow – new money less withdrawal.

    “It should be positive. So I think the number of participants could be growing much faster than today because of aggressive marketing but they are not engaged,” he said.

    “The online market is growing but is not growing as fast as we expect it to grow,” he added.

    He attributed this to “the fact that that barrier to entry is hard,” citing the required know your client (KYC) rule for finance-related businesses.

    “Other financial institutions who are able to skirt the KYC are growing much faster but their clients are not engaged. They need to be guided along the way. And that is what COL is trying to do,” Bate said.