Expert Investor
Author: Emily Lanham
Trading Economist
Emily Lanham

Filipino Traders Guide

The Philippines is a nation that has shown exponential growth over the last two decades. In many respects, the growth pattern fits with the more widespread availability (and reliability) of the Internet over time and the percentage of mobile device users. Certainly, this explains why the growth of online trading has shown such a steep upward curve, with an increase of 70% between 2009 and 2019.

The Filipino government has always kept a close eye on technological advances, but particularly so when they are related to financial matters, evidenced by the ongoing acceptance of online trading. However, acceptance has also led to action and with the joint forces of the SEC and the BSP behind them, Filipinos can enjoy one of the safest day trading environments in the world.

With growth comes competition and there is an almost bewildering number of brokers available to citizens of the Philippines, but this is where we can help. We make it our business to keep our fingers on the trading pulse across the world and are often the first to spot trends and new technologies. This means our broker reviews are up to the minute and contain only current information, which can save you a lot of time doing the research yourself.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The facts about broker licensing in the Philippines
  • Some tips for mobile traders and those on-the-go
  • How we recommend brokers for Filipino Traders

Traders in The Philippines

Philippines

As a day trader in the Philippines, you will find that you are particularly well-serviced in terms of the regulatory control exercised over brokers by the SEC and the BSP, meaning that you can trade safely in a well-governed environment. That said, there are some other challenges you may face, so in terms of your choice of broker, it is important to take account of other factors.

Mobile Trading

The majority of brokers these days have a mobile app or optimised website so that you can access your trading account and platform on the move. You will need to have a suitable device, with an up-to-date operating system and a solid Wi-Fi connection as the modern platforms are quite resource-hungry. We do advise that you check how good the Wi-Fi is in your area as there are still parts of the Philippines where Internet coverage is sparse. On that note, an app is likely to be faster-loading and require fewer resources than an optimised website. You will also be able to use it offline when you are not trading live.

Deals And Incentives

The practice of brokers offering big bonuses to attract new clients is something that is gradually diminishing and being replaced with loyalty incentives. Choosing a broker on the basis of an initial offer is something you should consider carefully for two reasons. Firstly, although ‘free’ money to trade with is always tempting, it usually comes at a cost in terms of the other services the broker is providing, even if it is legitimate. Secondly, the offer may be there to cover up the fact that the broker is not correctly regulated. We strongly recommend that you select brokers which reward ongoing business, which will benefit you far more in the longer term.

Diverse Asset Types

Many Filipino day traders concentrate their effort on Forex, in view of the double regulation over this product. In response, you will see that the majority of brokers offer an excellent selection of currency pairs, including minors and exotics, but potentially less of a selection for commodities, indices and stocks. If you already have experience in the world of day trading and particular preferences, then this is an area you will need to examine more closely, but for anyone just starting out, trading currency pairs is a great way to learn.

Good Customer Support

As a part of their compulsory education and the licensing processes, brokers are required to provide outline policies for customer support. Guidelines suggest that brokers engage with their clients from the point of signing up onwards using appropriate ‘help’ so that they feel comfortable in the trading environment. If the guidelines have been followed, you are likely to find your broker provides transparent T&Cs, together with an extensive FAQ section and educational guides. In addition, the need for multiple points of contact is clearly understood and contact details are usually easy to locate. A matter of great importance should you have an urgent matter to address.

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Broker Fees And Tax

You will inevitably have to pay fees to your broker for each trade that you instigate. The broker may have a structure that is fully commission-based, in which case you will pay a percentage of the trading amount, which will vary according to the asset or derivative. The other option is a fixed-fee structure, where you will pay the same amount for each trade, but at the expense of a less competitive spread.

You may incur non-trading fees for account maintenance, which are usually charged on a quarterly basis. In addition, other services such as advanced analytics or automated trading software will attract a subscription cost and you may also have to pay for the exchange to your local currency or withdrawing funds from your account. It is important to know these things and a good broker will always make them clear in the T&Cs.

As a Filipino, you are taxed on your total annual income, derived from any source and calculated on a sliding scale basis. Profits from day trading count as taxable income, so you will need to keep full accounts relating to all trading activity, regardless of whether you are trading on a full-time or part-time basis.

Filipino Licencing

Brokers operating in the Philippines are regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in accordance with the laws and policies laid out by the Government of the Philippines. The SEC has jurisdiction over all financial products relevant to day trading, including CFDs, Forex and commodities. Note: Although this authority has the same name, it is not the same entity as the SEC in the United States and has no connection with it.

All matters relating to Filipino finances are also overseen by the Banko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines which monitors Forex brokers. This is in addition to the SEC regulations and specific to Forex trading. All brokers in the Philippines must undergo compulsory education and register in the Capital Market Professionals program, culminating in an examination to become a Securities Representative. This course of study covers many trading-related subjects including:

  • Valuation techniques
  • Market analysis
  • Investment portfolio techniques
  • Regulations
  • Ethics

In addition, a broker must provide documented evidence of having sufficient capital to support his own business costs and to cover the cost of all live trades at any given time. This part of the process is dealt with on an individual basis by the SEC. As you can see, a broker licensed in the Philippines is able to provide you with a safe and secure environment for trading and we highly recommend making the most of that.

The first step in our extensive broker reviews is to confirm that a broker holds the correct licensing and that his conduct under it has been exemplary.

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How we Recommend Brokers

Bearing in mind the high level of regulation imposed on Philippines-based brokers by the SEC and BSP, we have no hesitation in looking at those brokers first when it comes to making recommendations for you. The first step in our extensive broker reviews is to confirm that a broker holds the correct licensing and that his conduct under it has been exemplary.

With the Internet being less than is ideal in certain areas of the Philippines, we pay particular attention to the broker’s website checking that it is as functional and fast-loading as possible, as well as operating securely. The same goes for any mobile trading aspect where an app optimised for Android or iOS is the preferred option for you.

Our reviews cover the assets and derivatives the broker has available, checking that the average spreads are competitive in those markets. We like to see the availability of more than one trading platform wherever possible and unlimited access to a free demo account to test them out. Last but not least, we look for an emphasis on customer support, reviewing every aspect from the speed of trade execution right through to how quickly you can expect a response from customer support personnel.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Is day trading in the Philippines legal and safe?

All forms of trading have been legal for Filipinos since 2018 and by trading with a broker that holds SEC Philippines licensing, your safety is assured.

Do I need to pay fees and taxes on my profits?

The minimum fees you can expect to pay are a cost per trade, either on a fixed-fee or commission basis, depending on the account you select. Filipinos are also expected to pay income tax on any trading profits, so you will need to keep careful accounts.

Can I test brokers before trading with real money?

There are very few brokers that do not have a free demo account available. We always recommend using one to try out a broker before you begin live trading and it is also an invaluable tool to test out new strategies, even if you are experienced.

Is it easy to make deposits and withdrawals?

The process is very easy and there are multiple methods available for you to use. You do need to be aware that the same source must be used for depositing and withdrawing funds and you may be asked to verify your ID at any time, so always keep it handy.

Can I trade using my mobile or tablet device?

Almost all brokers offer this service, but with Wi-Fi availability lacking in some areas, it is best to select a downloadable app for your device rather than using a mobile-optimised website.

Meet The Author
Emily Lanham
Emily Lanham
Trading Economist

Emily has written for us for 2 years, and with an education and career in economics, markets are something she understands. Working as a consultant for various financial institutions gives Emily the ability to devote a certain amount of her time to the site.

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