Maybe you’ve just begun doing stocks. Or maybe you already know the ins and outs of the trade, pun intended. In any case, you know that online trading platforms have made it easier for everyone to trade stocks and monitor investments at their fingertips. In the Philippines, several names stand out: COL Financial, Philstocks, BDO Nomura, First Metro, and BPI Trade. In April of this year, BPI Trade introduced numerous improvements to its platform. While it is not yet a very popular option for new traders, BPI Trade has actually gathered enough following to make it a leading trading platform for long-term investors.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty, allow us to introduce BPI Trade. The online trading platform is affiliated with BPI Securities Corporation, one of the oldest stock brokerage firms in the Philippines and a wholly owned subsidiary of BPI Capital Corporation under the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI). As of 2018, BPI had 9.2m customers who were responsible for 798.4m digital transactions in the same year, up 35% from 2017.
If you’re one of BPI’s 9.2m-strong customers who wish to try your hand at investing, you’ve come to the right place. BPI clients have the advantage of seamlessly moving funds from their BPI banking accounts and BPI trade accounts and vice-versa using BPITrade.com.
However, if you don’t have a deposit account with BPI, you can open one with them and start trading immediately after. Opening an account doesn’t have to be difficult, as BPI is one of the country’s top largest banks with an accessible network of 856 branches as of 2018.
Exploring the platform
So what makes BPI Trade different from the other online trading platforms? We’ve mentioned the ease of use for BPI clients, but there’s actually more to BPI Trade than that. The platform has improved significantly over the years, with a re-launch in April that did away with the clunky old website and replaced it with a more dynamic and interactive one.
The recently launched homepage of BPITrade.com features the login box, a sidebar on the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi), and several general information boxes, including those for announcements and events.
If you’re picky about where the login button redirects you, you can choose the landing page from a dropdown box that includes the following redirect options: Main, Charts, Research, Quotes, Trading, Analytics, and News. It’s a small detail, but a very convenient one for those who are on-the-go and prefer to see specific information immediately upon signing in.
For investors who are big on the research feature of a trading platform, BPI Trade publishes technical analyses, daily reports, and company reports everyday. These can all be easily accessed via the Research page, which still has links to reports published as early as 2016.
The platform’s Quotes, Trading, and Analytics pages are also well organized, making it easy for new investors to explore. Each of these pages are further broken down into several categories, which enables clients to view personal and market statistics, stock and broker info, and trade history, among others. There is an outstanding feature on the Portfolio page: real-time information on investors’ unrealized monetary and percentage gains or losses, something that other leading platforms do not have yet.
Clients who are new to investing will also appreciate BPI Trade’s educational arm. The events box on the homepage redirects to a document featuring all of BPI Trade’s upcoming events for old and new investors, such as seminars and webinars.
BPI Trade offers these seminars for free and holds most of them in Makati on a regular basis, featuring topics such as “Introduction to Stock Market Dynamics and Website Navigation” and “Technical Analysis Money Making Using Charts.” Clients who cannot come to the seminars may sign up for BPI’s web-based seminars or webinars labelled as I-TRAC Live!
For those who wish to get in touch with BPI Trade, the company has a dedicated hotline, an email address, and social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Both BPI Trade’s Facebook and Twitter pages are regularly updated, which is an important feature for clients who are always browsing their social media feeds.
However, some clients have expressed that BPI Trade needs to improve its customer service and become more responsive on its social media channels. BPI’s customer service in general has consistently been in hot water, as the bank showed challenges in addressing all of the concerns being fielded by its large customer base.
Like BPI Express Online, BPI Trade experiences regular and sometimes unscheduled maintenance activities. This makes it difficult for investors to access the platform round-the-clock, and get the most out of their daily trading experience. Nonetheless, BPI Trade announces most of its maintenance activities and system upgrades, so traders can effectively manage their time and avoid interruptions in online trading.
Currently, BPI Trade lacks a mobile application. But this is also the case for almost all online trading platforms in the country.
Overall, BPI Trade has definitely stepped up its game in terms of online features and tools. Once it launches a mobile app and significantly enhances its customer service, it won’t be a surprise if BPI Trade becomes the top trading platform of choice for all types of investors, old or new, short-term or long-term.