Money Talks goes to Cebu!

Here’s a great learning event for the Cebuanos as we bring Money Talks to Cebu this April 25, 2015.

Joining me in this life-changing event are my friends MARVIN GERMO, RFP and PAULO TIBIG.

Marvin Germo, RFP is known as “Mr. Stock Smarts” and he is one of the country’s most sought after speaker and trainer in the arena of stock market investing. Learn the foundations of proper stock market investing properly from Marvin. He is the author of 2 best-selling books on stock market investing, a columnist for Rappler and Business Mirror and a resident finance expert in 94.7 Mellow FM.

Paulo Tibig has earned the monicker “EntrepChamp” as he conducts hundreds of talks all over the nation on entrepreneurship. He is the CEO of one of the country’s largest logistics company, V Cargo and a former President of the Association of FIlipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI).  He has authored a best-selling book on entrepreneurship.

I will be discussing the fundamental steps to achieve wealth as well as the proper foundations towards investing.

To register, click HERE or send an email to [email protected]

For a learning fee of only P800,00, this is an event every Cebuano shouldn’t miss!

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Is One Lightning Corporation a scam?

Yes, it is a scam.

In fact, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a warning regarding the scaminvestment taking activities of this company and its affiliates. According to the SEC, no secondary license has been issued to One Lightning Corporation. It is not supposed to be soliciting investments or selling investment products to anyone in the Philippines.

The SEC advisory includes a warning to those who intend to participate in the modus operandi of One Lightning Corporation. Individuals who try to convince others to be part of the activities of the said company will risk getting prosecuted for the violation of the Securities Regulation Code. Those who will continue recruiting more members or investors will be charged accordingly.

 

SEC Investigation

The Securities and Exchange Commission conducted further investigation on One Lightning because it is a SEC-registered company. The SEC cannot simply release a statement similar to the one issued for Emgoldex Philippines, which is not even registered with the Commission.

The SEC investigation found that One Lightning Corporation invites “investors” to its cosmetics and health care product line. These prospective investors are promised high returns on their investments in a scheme marketed as a “revolutionary compensation plan.” In this scheme, investors will get 70% of the company’s profits.

Just like other companies that attract investors through referrals or recruitment, One Lightning Corporation also dangles recruitment commissions or bonuses called “referral award” and “maturity award,” both of which are pecuniary in nature.

The referral award is given to someone who successfully recruits a new investor, while the maturity award is given to someone whose recruits have recruited other investors. The referal award is around 5% of the investment paid in while the maturity award is around 2%.

In an interview with ANC, Gerard Lukban, commission secretary of the SEC, said that it is not enough that a company is registered in the Philippines for its activities to be considered legal or legitimate. In the case of One Lightning, the act of selling of investment contracts to the public requires SEC’s scrutiny of the company’s registration statement and prospectus of what is being offered.

The SEC referred to One Lightning Corporation’s activities as a pyramiding operation.

 

Why SEC considers One Lightning a scam

According to SEC secretary Gerard Lukban, there were two violations committed by One Lightning: (1) the questionable investment contracts being offered, and (2) the company’s lack of a licensed salesman to sell the investment contracts. As the SEC advisory stated, the company does not have the permission to publicly offer securities and solicit investments.

 

Avoiding Similar Scams

Financial advice websites as well as government authorities will tell you a number of common factors that indicate whether or not an investment or “grow your money” company is fraudulent. They include the following:

  • Lack of government licensing (registration) or recognition by the appropriate government agencies
  • Lack of legitimate products or actual revenue-generating business operations
  • Too good to be true (guaranteed high returns)
  • Difficult to find official information about the company
  • Focus is on the recruitment of “investors”

It’s important to note, however, that fraudulent companies at present have already evolved. Some are now registered with the government and also have products to sell. That’s why emphasis should be placed on “appropriate registration or licensing” and “legitimate products.”

As the SEC secretary mentioned, it’s not enough for a company to be registered and that the products being offered should also be examined for the proper licensing or permission to be publicly offered. In the case of One Lightning, it is SEC-registered, but it does not have the necessary permission to offer investment products.

It’s important to be very cautious with all financial decisions you make, especially when dealing with investment opportunities that are mostly being marketed online. Skepticism is advised and encouraged. This need for prudent financial decision-making, however, is not limited to investments. It also applies to making decisions on loans and credit cards.

Fortunately, there are transparency and comparison services like MoneyMax that can help you in differentiating the legitimate offers from the fraudulent ones, as well as the good from the better. They can facilitate a more informed scrutiny of your options. Comparison sites curate a great deal of relevant information and resources that make it easier to see the pros and cons of the choices you are considering.

The Internet is your friend. Make good use of it to research and compare, so you can be at an advantage in your financial decision making concerns. Don’t fall for a scam like One Lightning Corporation.

 

Sources:

http://www.sec.gov.ph/docs_home/2015Advisory_One_Lightning_Corp.pdf

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/03/11/15/why-sec-issued-warning-vs-one-lightning-corp

http://business.inquirer.net/188284/sec-warns-investors-against-one-lightning

http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mjf45egim/pay-attention-2/

 

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Free spots to the Financial Fitness Forum 2015

Here’s great news! As a treat to the followers of my site, I am giving away 10 FREE spots to the Financial Fitness Forum 2015 this March 28, 2015 at SMX Aura. This event features the luminaries of the Registered Financial Planner Institute like Efren Cruz, Salve Duplito, Marvin Germo, Edric Mendoza, Malaya Laraya and many more!

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Joining is easy, follow the instructions below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more details about the event, visit http://financialfitnessforum.org/ 

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House buying or renting habits of Pinoys

Affordability is top of mind for Filipinos who choose not to buy property, with more than 60 percent of renters in a recent survey of online house-hunters citing cost constraints as the primary reason they leased their home.

The findings are contained in new research from global property website Lamudi, which has recently released its first report on real estate in the emerging markets. The report, Real Estate in the Emerging Markets, provides a comprehensive overview of the property sector in 16 emerging countries, including the Philippines.

The report is based on a series of online surveys conducted with house-hunters and real estate agents in each country, as well as onsite data from Lamudi’s global network of websites. The research examines the habits of online property-seekers, while offering insights into the future of the property sector based on interviews and surveys with local property experts.

The customer survey examined house-hunting habits among buyers and renters. For renters, affordability emerged as the key reason why many Filipinos choose not to buy their own home. More than 60 percent of renters surveyed said they could not afford to buy property. For buyers, the main driver for owning property is security. Nearly three-quarters of buyers cited security as their primary motivation for purchasing a home.

Buying Property

According to the survey of real estate agents, the country’s economic outlook is seen as the top constraint on the property market, reflecting current concerns about a potential slowdown. However, agents and brokers remain overwhelmingly optimistic about the future of the market. More than 90 percent describe their outlook for the next 12 months as positive.

Renting Over Buying

Lamudi’s Global Co-Founder and Managing Director, Kian Moini, said: “The primary conclusion that we have drawn from our research is that the future for the Philippine property sector is extremely bright. In fact, two-thirds of the real estate agents we surveyed are expecting growth of eight percent or higher in the property market this year. The country’s real estate market has emerged as one of the most promising in the Asia Pacific region.”

The report features a series of in-depth interviews with key figures from the property industry of each country, including Jose Romarx Salas, Head of Research and Consulting at Pinnacle Real Estate Consulting Services. Mr Salas said the key challenge for the Philippine property market was finding enough land to accommodate development. “In Metro Manila, that’s the challenge: looking for suitable land. Some developers are even willing to bid high, which pushes up already skyrocketing land prices in the capital,” he told Lamudi.

The 16 countries covered in the report are: Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Colombia.

The full report is presented in an easy-to-read online format, available for viewing here.

 

ABOUT LAMUDI

Launched in 2013, Lamudi is a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. The fast-growing platform is currently available in 28 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, with more than 700,000 real estate listings across its global network. The leading real estate marketplace offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy to-use platform to find or list properties online.

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Retirement & Estate Planning Seminars in UAE

Aside from the main event, Money Talks UAE on March 20, 2015, I will be conducting Retirement & Estate Planning seminars in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well.

Retirement Planning 

At the end of the workshop, you will be able to prepare a comprehensive retirement plan that is suited for you and a plan that really works. Find out how you can truly live a life of comfort & learn about the proper investments that is best suited for your needs objectively

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Estate Planning

Learn how to properly transfer your assets in a cost-efficient manner. Estate planning is a good tool to minimize, if not eliminate uncertainties in the proper distribution of your estate. Estate planning will help you have peace of mind that you will indeed leave a lasting legacy

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Retirement Planning, Abu Dhabi – March 13, 2015; 9am to 12noon. Register HERE

Retirement Planning, Dubai – March 14; 2 to 5pm.Register HERE

Estate Planning, Dubai – March 14, 6 to 9pm.Register HERE

 

You may also send an email to [email protected]  for inquiries. Limited slots only.

Money Talks UAE on March 20, 2015 HERE

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Free finance event in Hong Kong

SONY DSCI will be back in Hong Kong for another personal finance program to be held at the Consular office on March 1, 2015 at 4:30pm. This is the 3rd year I am conducting a program organized by the Philippine Consulate and Smart Pinoy.

This event is for the OFWs based in Hong Kong and FREE of charge. See you in Hong Kong!

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Stocks or Stock Funds?

Philippine-stock-market-board (1)QUESTION: I am ready to start investing and I would like to invest in equities. Is it better to invest in stocks directly or through pooled stock funds like UITF or mutual funds? —Name withheld per request, asked via e-mail

Answer: As a financial and investment planner, we need to subscribe to the principle of suitability. Without sufficient information, it wouldn’t be prudent of me to categorically say one would be better than the other. The answer really depends on you—if you are knowledgeable enough to select your own stocks, size of funds, and if you have enough time for investing.

However, to help you make a more informed decision, let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both types of investing.

On individual stocks

Advantages :

Control—Buying your stocks directly gives you control over what and when to buy or sell.

Residual income—If you buy a stock with a good dividend payout, then you don’t have to watch the price movement anymore. As long as the company is earning and declares dividends, you will get dividends.

Maximized returns—individual stocks that are growing may beat the market and can give you better-than-average returns. Many stocks beat the index last year.

Potentially better returns—with proper selection and assuming that you are very good at selecting market performers, the growth of your own stock portfolio can outperform the stock market index and many stock funds.

Fees—buying your stocks directly from brokers usually means lower fees as fund managers charge a higher investment management fee compared to stock brokers.

Disadvantages :

Time-consuming—before investing, you should spend enough time thoroughly understanding how stock market investing works. You should also accumulate enough knowledge of both fundamental and technical analysis.  Fundamental analysis means you must be able to read and understand financial reports of the companies you would like to invest in, the general condition of the industries and market trends to which these companies belong to, general knowledge of macroeconomics and even the management of the corporations you would like to own shares of, etc. Technical analysis will require you to constantly study charts on price averages, trading volumes and a multitude of technical market theories like Dow theory, Relative Strength Index, Elliott Wave theory and more. While fundamental and technical analysis is not rocket science, it takes considerable time for you to learn them properly. Enrolling in a class like Marvin Germo’s Stock Smarts is a good way to start.

Diversification—all investment professionals will always recommend you to diversify. No amount of study and good performance in the past will guarantee the performance of a particular stock in the future so having several and properly selected stocks is always a prudent thing to do. Unless you have a very big capital for investing, you will be limited to the variety of stocks you can carry in your portfolio.

 

On stock funds

Advantages :

Professional fund management—this is perhaps the biggest advantage of pooled funds like UITFs and mutual funds. There is a dedicated team of investment experts that looks at investment opportunities and is investing the money according to the investment objectives of the fund. It is common to see CFAs or Certified Financial Analysts leading or being part of these investment teams. Good fund managers are clinical and logical investors and are not easily swayed by emotions as compared to individual investors.

Capital requirements—most of pooled stock funds have low capital entry requirements. One can invest in a fund for as low as P 5,000 to P10,000, with other providers requiring a monthly contribution of as low as P1,000 per month.

Diversification—all stock funds carry well-diversified stocks in their portfolio, usually blue chip or premium stocks. Since these are pooled funds, there are economies of scale in place; fund managers will be able to purchase different shares. Proper diversification will ultimately result in reduced portfolio risk.

Disadvantages :

Fees—While not all stock funds charge the same range of fees, these fees are usually much more than broker fees as there are costs involved in managing funds. Some funds even charges entry and exit fees, which can reduce the returns of your investments. Some funds are being sold through agents and advisors and commissions would need to be paid to them.

Control—you have no say on which funds you want or don’t want in your fund as this is already delegated to the fund managers. You also can’t modify the weight of the stocks inside a stock fund as fund managers follow maximum exposure limits per stock to ensure proper risk management practices. Even if you want more PLDT or Jollibee shares in your portfolio, your fund will only have a limited exposure to said stocks, like 10 percent.

The answer to your question is dependent upon you knowing the pros and cons of individual stock investing or through a pooled equity or stock fund. If you are a new investor, I recommend you invest in a stock fund first and as you get to understand how the stock market works and develop your competency in investing, you may want to start investing in individual stocks. There are no perfect investments and there are many ways to build your wealth, chose a strategy that you will be most comfortable with.

Do not forget, whether investing in stocks by yourself or through a fund, it pays to invest first in investment education.

 

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Money Talks UAE

The biggest finance event for the OFW in the United Arab Emirates will happen this March 20, 2015!

Be part of the learning by attending this life-changing event and learn from the experts who have a heart to help bring financial education to the OFWs!

To register, CLICK HERE or email [email protected]

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My guests for this conference are all advocates for financial literacy and have extensive training & experience in finance and investing.

Allan Miranda – Allan is the most recognizable OFW in UAE when it comes to financial literacy. He has been conducting successful seminars in Dubai and Abu Dhabi for a few years now and he is seen as the champion of the OFWs when it comes to financial enablement. He is based in Dubai, UAE.

Burn Gutierrez – Burn is the founder and main driving force behind the hugely successful OFW Usapang Piso forum and the Angat Pilipinas Coalition. Due to his efforts, thousands of OFWs are becoming financially abled through his extensive work using the internet and now even live events in many parts of the world. Burn’s team is composed of many volunteers and leaders and virtually every city in the world where there are many OFW’s. He is based in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Bernard Anduyon – Bernard Anduyon was the immediate past President of the Overseas Filipino Investing & Entrepreneurship Movement, a group that is almost single handedly transforming the financial lives of the OFWs in Qatar. Doha has a high concentration of financially abled OFWs because of the efforts of Bernard and his movement. His group has been deputized by the Philippine embassy in Qatar to provide financial education to the OFWs in that region. He is based in Doha, Qatar.

Jess Uy – Jess is known as the international investing expert and has been active in investment education and financial planning amongst many OFWs. He has successfully conducted seminars in many countries like Japan, Brunei, Dubai, Qatar, Hong Kong and Singapore. Jess is based in Singapore.

Don’t miss this!

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2015 Outlook, part 12

Years of steady structural reforms under 4 Presidents, improved demographics, technology shifts and many other factors have been factors behind the Philippine growth story. I would like to personally thank the BSP for being a strong institution that has made all this growth a reality.

As I close this 2015 Outlook series, I believe that the best way to do so is to feature the views of one of my favorite economic icons in the country, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo. How I wish more and more people can learn from him which will not only give you wisdom, it will help you with your faith.

 

The 2015 Outlook of BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo

I continue to see the Philippine economy performing in accordance to its higher potential capacity. Four factors support this trend that many people may not be exactly aware.

One, with sustained technology application, total factor productivity has improved over the years. Two, economic efficiency has gained more traction. Three, labor market dynamics have been favorable with more educated, more trained graduates joining the labor pool. And finally, demographic factor has been supportive with more young people keeping the dependency ratio relatively low.

What drove these growth-positive factors have been the twenty years of steady policy and structural reforms. These are BSP-buildingclearly a demonstration that the Philippine Government has attained a good sense of governance. Four presidencies have continued with building institutions. If nations fail because of bad institutions, one can therefore argue that the Philippines has achieved strong resiliency because it has been heavily engaged in institution building even through the Global Financial Crisis in 2007-2009.

It should not therefore be surprising if I will uphold the government target of 7-8 percent economic growth in 2015 and 2016. I see more diversified sources of growth: more investment and public spending supporting private consumption, manufacturing, construction and agriculture contributing to the growth process complimentary to services. That growth range has been achieved at some point in the past, I don’t see any reason why that should be elusive in the future. What we need to see is more infrastructure and infrastructure.

With investment grade continuing to go up, both domestic and foreign investment should remain bullish about the Philippines. Infrastructure including power should remain the focus of these investments.

With good supply prospects and pro-active monetary policy, helped by the decline in oil and other commodity prices, I see inflation averaging at a rate comfortably within the lower target range of 2-4 percent for both 2015 and 2016. The BSP and the national government have good monetary and fiscal space, respectively, to continue promoting price stability and good public finance.

On the external front, I see our initial forecast of sustained external payments surplus continuing to be broadly appropriate. The balance of payments should be able to bounce back strongly from a shortfall in 2014 to a surplus in both 2015 and 2015, with the current account expected to show increasing positive position of at least $6.0 billion.

These are premised on one, recovery in the global economy but at an uneven pace. This dimension is important because unevenness should lead to divergent monetary policies. US is turning the corner so I expect it to start preparing the stage for some tightening which could result in some capital outflows in the Philippines. Europe and Japan remain soft so monetary policy is needed to be accommodative which could drive some capital to flow to emerging markets including the Philippines. China and India are the other difficult challenges with structural issues threatening to pull them down so we should see a generalized easing among many central banks. All told, the asynchronous policies could pull each other apart and generate some volatilities in the global and regional financial markets. The Philippines should be very vigilant in monitoring these developments and should be prepared to act decisively as necessary.

I also expect to see our strong and stable banking system continuing to provide additional resiliency to the economy. Financial intermediation is expected to remain supportive of economic growth. With key reforms in place and expected to be pursued, market confidence should remain strong and this is something that does not come by easily.

There would always be some risks even at the tail end. This is the reason why the BSP is always doing stress tests and scenario building exercises to ensure we are not surprised by external shocks. This is the reason why we have a stable of early warning systems on the key sectors of the economy including the business cycle.

So paraphrasing Einstein, let me say that what is incomprehensible about the economy is that it is comprehensible.

 

diwa guinigundoMr. Guinigundo is the deputy governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in charge of monetary policy and operations, international relations and operations, currency management and regional monetary affairs. He was the Philippines’ representative at the IMF, Washington, DC as alternate executive director. Previously, he was head of research at the Southeast Asian Central Banks Research and Training Center in Kuala Lumpur. At present, he chairs the SEACEN Experts Group on Capital Flows and a member of the SEACEN Executive Committee. He sits at the NEDA Board, National Food Authority Council and National Home Mortgage Finance Corporation Board.

Outside government, Mr Guinigundo is the senior pastor of a local Christian church, Fullness of Christ International Ministries, and advises the BSP Christian Fellowship. He leads in the nationwide Touching Heaven Changing Earth which aims to unite the body of Christ in the Philippines.

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2015 Outlook, part 11

40 years ago, the Philippines grows below the 3% range… we have gone a long way since then and we are no longer the ‘sick man of Asia’. What are the macroeconomic concerns we should address to ensure sustainability of our growth? Can we survive international economic shocks? Are we a viable international investment destination?

I am proud to present the views of my mentor in economics and a highly respected and admired economist, Dr, Alvin P. Ang, PhD.

 

The 2015 Outlook of Dr. Alvin Ang

2014 saw a natural experiment in terms of Philippine economic growth. It showed that if government and agriculture will not contribute to the economy, what will be the growth of the Philippines? It proved our expectations that the Philippines is already in a higher growth path. We are now growing at above 5.5% at base case. This is far higher than the below 3% growth we have experienced in the last 40 years. This alone is good news for all of us! It validates that the Philippines is now in a new league far from the sick man of Asia tag we had in the past.

economic-growth-4Let us just look at what happened to the economy after the major Swiss Shock weeks ago. We find that instead of being pulled down, the peso held on at current levels and the stock market even breach new highs. What is happening is that there is a whole new view about the Philippine economy. We are being looked as an alternative investment destination because of our unique qualities not found in other emerging market economy. These distinct advantages that may help cushion and compensate for any ripples and shocks. Let me summarize them as follows: a) the Investment Upgrade. At present we have yet to benefit fully from this as our FDI has remained low compared to our ASEAN neighbors. However, slowly we are seeing additions. FDI most likely reached USD 6Bn in 2014 and at base scenario would remain the same. B) OFW remittances and BPO. Supporting FDI for inflows will be the remittances and BPO contribution. While remittances are reaching growth maturities of about 4 to 6% growth per year, the BPO sector is strongly testing 2/3 of total remittances. All of these combined will already add a steady stream of close to USD 50 Bn per year. During the 2009 crisis, we were shielded mainly by the wide distribution of OFWs around the world compensating for the weakness in Taiwan and the Middle East. Hence, the economy held on despite massive shocks. This time, the Philippines is in a better position structurally because of the stronger underlying and the contributions of the Investment Grade status and the BPOs.

Furthermore monetary policy has been prudent with liquidity growth back to single digit levels and the loan growth at 20%. What is more encouraging is that loans to production have diversified to more sectors than before assuring a more balanced production growth. With these conditions, it is very likely that local interest rates will be hovering lower than their current levels. This is more so because we see inflation to weakening to even below 2% at best scenario. Best scenario assumes that the current oil price levels continue to weaken by ½% per month and that the port congestion is responded at a much faster rate than current. As regards the peso-dollar rate, the short term will see volatilities, but the general direction is that of a weakening considering that the US economy has been rebounding at a sustained pace. This will most likely lead to a tightening of US interest rates within the year. A higher US interest rates may attract funds back to the US. But this is a question of flight to quality. The Philippines is no longer a junk grade economy so it will not necessarily lead to a lot of funds moving out. Besides, the strong compensatory effect of the unique feature of our economy will ensure that any depreciation will be mild and will be helpful to make our exports competitive – this will be a movement between 1% to 2.5%.

As regards equities, 2014 saw a banner year with the PSEi hitting more than 20% return. The concern is that if the earnings will remain at their current levels, we will be expensive compared with our neighbours. For the last 3 years (2011-2014), the Philippines was the 13th best performing equities market in the world. There is still room to go up considering that current PE levels of 20% is well within the 20 year average. Hence, we see the PSEi moving up by 5% at base scenario to 7,600 and a maximum of 10% at 8,000.

 

Alvin Ang is presently Senior Fellow of Eagle Watch, Economic Forecasting Unit of Ateneo de Manila University and Alvin-Ang_NEWProfessor of Economics at the same university.  He was the 2013 President of the Philippine Economic Society and was previously Professor and Director of Social Research at University of Santo Tomas.  He advocates personal finance as one of the key missing links to address serious inequalities in the country.

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