Friday, April 21, 2017

How I'll Invest and Grow My Money Online with FundSmart

One of the things I wish they taught in school is financial literacy. Can you imagine if they taught us about savings, investments, and stocks in high school? Sure, they taught us Economics, but they should have included savings and investing specifics in the mix. 

When I was invited to attend a press event for First Metro Securities, I accepted because I knew it was a good opportunity to learn about investing my money. I suck at Math and I've had financial troubles (not of my own doing) in the past, so now that I'm a newlywed, it would be nice to arm myself with knowledge on how to grow our money for the future. 

Luckily, First Metro Securities, which is under the investment banking arm of Metrobank, has an online platform for stocks, mutual funds, and other financial services. They recently launched FundSmart, the first one-stop-shop for mutual funds online. 

FundSmart enables us to invest in over 25 peso-dominated mutual funds of the six leading fund houses: AFLM (under BPI), ATR Asset Mangement (ATRAM), First Metro Asset Management Inc. (FAMI), Philam Asset Management Inc., PhilEquity, and Sun Life Asset Management. The great thing about it is they also partnered with different banks like BDO, BPI, and Landbank so it is easier to set up an account and start investing!

Here I am opening my account with FirstMetroSec. Here are the requirements needed to open an account.

"It's enabling the Filipinos to think of their financial health first before spending," says First Metro Securities President Gonzalo G. Ordoñez about FundSmart. "If you make it easy and available, if you make it mobile, then they put a little portion [of their income], it's instant gratification for them."

But first, what are mutual funds? For the uninitiated, a mutual fund is an investment which pools the money of many different parties called investors. It is then invested in a specific type of security for it to grow and get returns. It's like when you and your friends each contribute a hundred pesos, then you give the pot to a fund manager who invests it on something profitable, only when it's a mutual fund you don't necessarily know your co-investors and you have no control which security the mutual fund will be invested in. But with the right research materials and the risk assessment as an investor (both of which FundSmart provides), you'll have all the help you need to make the smart decision on where to put your hard-earned money. 

To learn more about mutual funds and their different types, you can visit this page.

I'd like to invest in mutual funds because they give you the best of both worlds. You get to invest and grow your money while still have it liquid so that you can pull it out when you're in need. With mutual funds, your money can be invested in blue chip companies without you having to worry each day and doing your own research, because your shares are in the hands of able and expert fund managers.

Mr. Gonzalo G. Ordoñez, President of First Metro Securities. He says FirstMetroSec online and FundSmart give clients the confidence to trade more and trust their mutual fund manager more.

"The first thing you wanna do is get the professionals to help you," adds Mr. Ordoñez. "You can choose the fund manager you trust the most depending on how you decide whether you want a fast performance for one year, three years, five years, whatever you want to use. Or maybe it's the institution that it's connected with. It's really up to you. And then you can start by giving him the decisions that you want on your investment.

"It can be equities, it can be balanced, a mix of equity and fixed, or it can be pure fixed. But for millennials I think go equity. Take the risk and take the highest possible reward." 

Of course, investing always contains risks. That's why it's important to know what type of investor you are. With FundSmart, you first take a risk assessment and they will suggest which type of mutual funds are appropriate for you. Each fund has its own profile where you can check its performance and other details. You can re-take the assessment anytime you feel that you have changed your investing preferences. For me, this is very important because it shows care and concern for you as an investor. They're not just out to get your money, but they ensure you know your goals and the risks you're willing to take to reach them. 

I have taken the risk assessment and fell under a moderately aggressive investor, which means I "aim for capital growth" and I am "willing to take some risk for potentially higher returns over time." Yep, that sounds about right! Now I just need to discuss with my husband (I still get giddy whenever I call Jay that!) which specific fund we should invest in. Most of the funds only need a minimum of PHP5,000 initial investment. It's such an advantage that you have an array of fund houses to choose from, and convenient that you can fund your account depending on which bank you use. 

You can choose from 6 of the country's biggest mutual fund providers. At the launch were ALFM's Ricky Espiritu, Philam Asset Mangement's Eric Lustre, SunLife Asset Mangement's Valerie Pama, PhilEquity Management Fund's Edmundo Bunyi, ATRAM's Phillip Hagedorn, and FAMI's Augusto Cosio Jr.
"It's kinda new that one bank is selling all products, regardless of who's offering it," says Mr. Ordoñez. "So it's really good for the client. I can go into one platform and decide. I don't have to talk to so many people to decide." 

FundSmart allows you to buy and redeem your shares in mutual funds just like stocks. After creating your account, there are no additional requirements needed to invest, there are also no front-end fees and sales charges. 

You can also download the FirstMetroSec app on your phone (it's available on the App Store and Google Play) to monitor your investments whenever you want and wherever you are. Fast, easy, and convenient. Won't it feel like you're such an adult when you're checking your funds' status instead of playing the latest addictive game on your phone?

I know what the questions inside your head are. "Should I invest my money? Should I invest my money now?" My answer for both is a resounding YES! Whether you're a student with an alkansya at the back of your closet, a yuppie who's just started working, a newlywed with cash gifts, parents with growing kids, or retirees, the best time to invest is now. You just need to make the commitment to set aside your fund for investment, research on the types of funds, weigh the risk and returns involved, create your FirstMetroSec account, and invest with FundSmart!


  1. Your opening paragraph made me feel so guilty! I admit that shortcoming. The complexities of the specifics of investing and stocks, as well as the Philippine Secondary School Learning Competencies and content standards in High School Economics were the limitations I was facing then. I admit that I also underestimated the capacity and ability of my high school students in those times to understand the complexities of these topics. I hope that it won't be too late to acknowledge this fault and you can share with your readers the basics of saving and investment that I now advocate to my students in college.

    1. Aww, Sir George! I'm so touched that you left a comment on my post. I'm sure it wasn't your fault why it wasn't included in the high school curriculum then, and I doubt if it's already included now. We learned a lot from you regardless. :)

    2. Sana in the future makipag partner sila sa Robinsons Bank.

    3. Hi Jocie! Thanks for dropping by my blog. Yes, hopefully they partner with more banks soon for the convenience of their future clients. :)