BDO Nomura, the joint venture company between BDO Unibank and Nomura Holdings of Japan that offers an online stock trading service, said online stock trading in the Philippines is on the verge of a major upswing, as more investors, especially the new ones, turn to the online platform to invest in the equities market.

BDO Nomura chair Eduardo V. Francisco said the natural affinity of the "young" middle-income age group is to turn to technology to explore their financial capabilities.

"It's the perfect combination: the 18-44 years old age group becoming more aware of the need to invest and the prevalence of technology. You put these two together and soon, you will see a boom in the online stock trading business," he said.

Francisco also noted that the business of BDO Nomura has been steadily growing since its launch in October 2016.

"The growth of BDO Nomura is anchored on the reliability and stability provided by the BDO name, the Bank's expansive market presence, and the strong market research capability of Nomura," he said.

Francisco, however, does not want to be complacent. "We have just barely scratched the surface. There's still a huge market out there waiting to be tapped."

As of end-2016, there were a total of 773,187 stock market accounts in the local bourse, an 8.5-percent increase from the previous year's 712,549 accounts. Of the total number, 746,595 are retail accounts, which is 10-percent better from 678,449 retail accounts recorded in 2015.

Retail investors remained the key market for online accounts as they accounted for 99.7 percent of the total online accounts. There was a total of 302,516 online accounts in 2016.

Since its launch, more than 15,000 accounts have been opened through the BDO Nomura online trading platform as of end-June 2017.

BDO Nomura has also been providing research on 40 stocks listed in the Philippines since last April. This appeals to institutional investors as well which rely on comprehensive research reports in expanding their portfolio.

The online brokerage sector is steadily growing in the country, where over 80 percent of equity investors prefer to transact via an online broker.

In the next 10-20 years, the country's middle-income class is expected to grow rapidly, thus also boosting the number of potential equity investors in the local market. (PR)