Today is the day when I first opened an account with an online stockbroker. Everything happened so fast, it looks very promising.
Stockbrokers? You mean like the Wall Street movie?
Yes and no. Yes in the sense that I can now buy stocks from publicly listed companies in the Philippine Stock Exchange. No in the sense that I don’t need to call/deal or talk to a stockbroker directly.
The company that I signed-up with is CitiSecOnline. From their FAQ page:
CitisecOnline was established in 1999 with the vision of allowing a low-cost and easily accessible means to invest in the Philippine Stock Market. Over the years, it has developed a full sweep of services to empower the retail investor. These include real-time quotes, research services and reports, as well as expert-broker support, by providing him the tools to assist him make intelligent decisions. It also allows real-time execution of trades, which is the best practice in the local online trading industry. With its experience in servicing experienced investors looking for more convenient ways of stock trading, CitisecOnline is well-poised to drive the development of the online trading investor market in confluence with the increased penetration of internet access, broadband services and increasingly tech-savvy investing public.
I downloaded their application form online, filled it out and prepared the necessary photocopies of my government-issued IDs before going to their office at 2401-B East Tower Philippine Stock Exchange Center, Exchange Road, Ortigas Center, Pasig City. When we got to their vicinity, the place was really busy. There were a lot of cars going by and a lot of business people walking about. We found a pay-parking lot in front of their building and tried our luck with the parking space for about twenty minutes but ended up with the valet parking.
We went directly to the 24th floor and asked the guard where we can find the new accounts section. We were brought to a cozy room with tables and chairs meant for discussing any concerns that we may have with the account officer. The account officer asked if I already have “the necessary documents for application” and I said “yes” while pulling it out from my envelope. She just replied with “please wait for a moment as I check these and have them approved” and left. After five minutes, she came back with my new account number and said that the account is now ready to be funded and can be used immediately. She asked us if we have any more clarifications and/or questions – we had none – so I guess the opening of my account is complete. All of these in under fifteen minutes. Just like that, just like ordering fastfood.
Before I can reach my car, I got an email from them reminding me of my account number and how I can fund the account with step-by-step instructions for three different big banks. I can use any of these banks to transfer my funds online – how cool is that?
Being in the IT industry, I can’t help but notice that they are still using older technologies such as ASP classic and frames. Not to mention the use of tables for the site layout and some misaligned displays here and there. But what’s really puzzling me is that I was not provided with a password. There was nothing in the email they sent, not even a default random password that I will be required to change upon logging in for the first time. All I got is a username. All they’ve got is a login box and a forgot password link. I’m hesitant to use the forgot password since I never had the password. The “open an account” link leads to the list of requirements to be submitted.
Call me stupid for not knowing what to do, but I’d call myself sleepy and tired. Yeah. Whatever.