After its recent rebranding from CitisecOnline.com, leading online stock brokerage COL Financial is ready to embark on a new business aside from brokering equities. By the third or fourth quarter of this year, COL Financial—led by chair Edward Lee and president Dino Bate—will start brokering equity-linked funds, targeting people who would like to have an exposure in stocks but have neither the time to manage them.
As “CitisecOnline,” COL could not do this before because a compromise deal with the Citigroup prevented it from expanding to businesses that could be confused with products of “Citi” the banking group. But as “COL,” there was no room for any identity confusion and thus, the brokerage is free to embark on allied businesses.
COL, however, is not inclined to set up and manage the funds whose shares it will sell. It is adopting an open architecture system wherein it plans to sell funds managed by other investment management experts. Soon, it can be the distribution agent of a big international financial group. Doris C. Dumlao
Astro del Castillo, perhaps the most quoted equities analyst-turned-investment manager in town (and a very eligible bachelor, by the way), will soon wear a new hat as chair of a publicly listed company.
Not too many people know that Del Castillo chairs oil and gas exploration firm Frontier Oil Corp., which plans to debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange by the second half of this year and likely mandate an initial public offering (IPO) underwriter soon. Frontier Oil, which has interests in around five concessions, aspires to be the biggest onshore oil and gas exploration firm in the country.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved an increase in Frontier Oil’s authorized capital stock to 2.7 billion shares with a par value of P1 each. This marked an increase of about 13 times the previous capital base.
Although Del Castillo owns only a minority stake in Frontier Oil, he was appointed chair after gaining the trust and confidence of the majority Australian shareholder group Middle East Petroleum Ltd. For years, Del Castillo has been doing investment and research advisory for this Australian group. So watch out for “chair Astro” leading the roadshow of Frontier Oil soon. Doris C. Dumlao
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