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PSE moves to widen stock market participation

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12:44 AM December 7th, 2012

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By: Doris C. Dumlao, December 7th, 2012 12:44 AM

The Philippine Stock Exchange sees exchange-traded funds (ETFs) coming into play in the bourse by the first quarter of 2013, diversifying investment options in a low-interest rate environment.

PSE president Hans Sicat, speaking at the final plenary session of a two-day Citi-FT Financial Education Summit 2012, said the introduction of new products was part of the exchange’s attempt to widen investor participation in the stock market.

Sicat talked about the PSE’s market education efforts targeting people with at least P100,000 in savings.

At present, he estimated that about 39 percent of people with savings kept their money in banks, while another 39 percent kept them at home.

Sicat stressed the need for the PSE to reach out to the populace. Even as the market is hitting all-time highs, he said the common perception was that stock investing was only for the wealthy and that it was a form of gambling.

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently approved the regulatory framework for the offering of ETF, a financial instrument that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund. Since it trades like a stock on an exchange, its net asset value (NAV) is not calculated every day but it usually trades close to its NAV.

Sicat said these instruments could be introduced by the first quarter of next year, along with other products like securities borrowing and lending.

An ETF offers public investors an undivided interest in a pool of securities and other assets. It is similar in many ways to traditional mutual funds, except that shares in an ETF can be bought and sold throughout the day like stocks on an exchange through a broker or dealer.

More than 130 financial education experts and policy-makers around the world convened in town in the last two days to discuss financial capability as a 21st century life skill at the Citi-FT Summit, putting emphasis on the need to reach out to under-served segments such as the youth, migrant workers, women “at risk” or those abused or exploited, and people in rural areas.

Commenting on the summit, Citi Foundation chief operating officer Brandee McHale said this was “an important forum highlighting the critical need to improve consumer financial capabilities across age and income segments.”

Brandee added: “Financial capability is not a standalone issue, but linked to a broader financial inclusion dialogue. The Summit provides an opportunity to roll up our sleeves and examine what works and why.”

Over the last two days, the summit served as a venue for public and private sector representatives as well as non-government organizations from all over the world to share best practices, key insights and recommendations to address financial education needs.

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