Written by Kevin Choa / Photos by Mark Anastacio and Issa Imperial
Invest! is a two-day event which aims to teach the basic skills and principles to anyone interested in investing, whether it be in the stock market or in other investments.
Last September 18, the Ateneo Management Economics Organization (MEcO) kicked off one of its flagship projects on financial literacy: Invest! This two-day event aims to teach the basic skills and principles to anyone interested in investing, whether it be in the stock market or personal finance.
Day One saw Edmund Lee, a Chartered Financial Analyst and the President and CEO of Caylum Trading Institute, share his insights on investing to a packed, standing room-only crowd at the Escaler Hall. Much of his talk discussed about the common fears and debunked certain myths about the stock market to new investors, as well as explaining why the Philippine market is a good investment at this time.
Mr. Lee began his talk by mentioning that millennials are the luckiest generation so far. Information, according to him, is now within easy reach due to advances and innovations in technology. That being said, one’s success is not dependent on one’s access to such technology; it’s how one uses it to his/her advantage that counts. However, he mentioned that despite the enormous wealth of information one may have, there would always be a need to maximize it. Future generations, Mr. Lee said, would become smarter and more adaptive, therefore making it more important to build on one’s resources as much as possible.
The speaker then proceeded to explain why investing was a simpler way to increase one’s wealth, emphasizing the fact that majority of the wealthiest individuals in the world built their fortunes on investments over inheritances. As costs increase and going into business becomes harder, investing is a viable option, as you “make your money work for you.” In saying this, Mr. Lee said that large companies and corporations are partners in the business world, considering the amount of influence and networks they have on the overall business community. While being an entrepreneur is still a common practice, many entrepreneurs turn to those businesses for help.
Moving on to the topic of the stock market as a representation of the economy, it is anything but certain, given the various rises and drops in the values of certain stocks at certain periods of time. An example would be the 2016 Philippine elections, in which no one could be certain that Rodrigo Duterte is the best option amongst all the candidates before he was elected. Mr. Lee further emphasized that until his or her term ends, no one can confidently tell or fully prove if a president is considered a good or bad leader. Such uncertainty during an election creates noise on who would be the best one, similar to the stock market itself.
Mr. Lee then added that there are always scapegoats, negative press, and other sorts of distractions which affect the trading and investing decisions in the stock market. He emphasized that despite the constant news of dropping values, not every drop means economic recession. Not only was the Philippine economy not badly hit by the 2008 financial crisis in the United States, but also much of the Philippine GDP comes from outside the country (BPOs and OFWs), according to Mr. Lee. He also said that investors must focus on long-term effects any policy or event has on the economy, no matter the short-term risks it imposes.
Mr. Lee then encouraged the audience to begin investing, by saying that “Everyone wants to invest in the Philippines, except the Filipino.”, as well as encouraged investing in megatrends in the country and internationally. He then cited the stories behind the success of various companies, such as Apple, Yahoo!, Blackberry, and Universal Robina, companies which expanded their operations and succeeded as a result. All four companies’ stock prices had an upward spike in value at some point.
At the end of the day, however, Mr. Lee encouraged new investors to fully understand the scope of their investments. He mentioned the value of brands, as well as the various trends and innovations which change people’s lives, stressing that unlike popular opinion, the stock market is anything but a gamble. It is full of points to consider: where one is in the market, what the market conditions are, and how one must act based on decisions and events which affect the business community. He then closed Day One by discussing the concept of a shared economy, crucial to new investors as well. The Philippines is full of demographics, young labor, and the development of technology which could soon arrive. As part of the market, we as investors share the economic activity and growth, which is dominant in a time where some of the richest companies own nothing and earn on sharing services from other people. Even with all this technology and knowledge flowing, there is nothing to gain if these are not properly shared and determine the overall activity of the stock market.
Invest! Day 2 will be held on Monday, September 25 at Escaler Hall. Brian Ngan, Chief Investment Officer for Cedarside Holdings Corporation, will discuss the basic skills for trading and investing, the final step for new investors willing to seek the peak.