Investing in stocks is owning companies without the hassle of getting permits and putting up capital and UTrade wants Cebuanos to see it as a means to achieve financial security.

“There is so much potential in Cebu since Cebuanos are by nature entrepreneurial,” said UTrade AVP in marketing Michelle Ungco.

She added that with only about 2 percent of Filipinos currently invested in stocks, the brokerage firm sees “a sea of opportunity” in the remaining 98 percent.

Since its establishment in 2014 when it only had around a hundred clients, UTrade now has 5,000, according to head and manager of sales Neil Gabaldon. UTrade is an online trading platform.

UTrade Cebu seminar

UTrade Investment Consultant Carlos Felipe gives an introduction to stocks trading in a seminar in Cebu City.

UTrade Growth targets

Only a fraction of this number, however, are Cebu residents, Gabaldon said, adding they seek to make securities trading more familiar to Cebuanos by adding more events to the weekly seminars at the UTrade office in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). The weekly seminar is from 3-5 p.m. every Tuesday at the PSE office in Cebu, which is located at the Insular Life building in the Cebu Business Park. UTrade held a Stock Investing 101 workshop in Cebu on March 4, 2017.

Ungco said they don’t plan run after the 2 percent already investing in publicly-listed shares and try to convince them UTrade is the better brokerage firm but would just focus their efforts on the 98 percent that have yet to learn what the stock market is all about.

“The 98 percent are different kinds of people. UTrade wants to talk to those interested in investing or at least know what it is to invest. They’ve invested in funds, merong insurance, my negosyo na, may ari ng lupa. They’re already invested but want to diversify, add to their investment vehicles, and get into something that will give them accelerated financial success,” she added.

UTrade has intensified the campaign to grow its client base particularly in Cebu, Gabaldon added.

UTrade Cebu press con

STOCKS INVESTING. UTrade officials hold a press conference in Cebu to announce expansion plans. From left are: Adeluisa Gesalan, Cebu Business Development Officer; Carlos Felipe, Investment Consultant of UTrade; Michelle Ungco, AVP in Marketing; Neil Gabaldon, Head and Manager of Sales; MJ Catriz, Assistant Manager in Digital Marketing; and Marnelle Apat, Cebu Business Development Officer.

Stock investing

When people save their money in the bank, they only get very little interest in their savings, said UTrade investment consultant Carlos Felipe.

On the other hand, the bank makes money from deposits by loaning the funds out at a high interest.

“Would you rather loan money to the bank or just own the bank? How can you do this? By buying shares of that bank in the open market. This is the power of stocks, you become part owner of a company,” he added.

According to Ungco, the company’s immediate plans involve the launch of a mobile app by April 2017 and distribution of mutual funds for people who are still averse to stock market risks.