Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now, Pinoys Abroad Can Invest in BPI UITFs through BPI Express Online (Well, Sort of...): Part 1

So, I came across this article press release from the business section of the Inquirer a few days ago. Here's an excerpt if you're to lazy to read the entire thing:

"BPI asset management and trust group—a leading wealth management unit in the Philippines with close to P600 billion in assets under management—launched Tuesday night a web-based facility that allows investors to initiate mutual funds and unit investment trust fund (UITF) transactions through the Internet."

"Through this platform which can be accessed at, investors can access portfolio information, explore further investment opportunities, subscribe to additional funds, redeem investments and make regular contributions online."

This news actually got me quite excited. You see, even before I left for Hong Kong, I had been looking for ways to manage Philippine UITF investments remotely. Unfortunately, such a service was still not available at that time--then this small nugget of good news comes along.

BPI president Aurelio Montinola III is even quoted as saying:

"We’re quite excited about this. Not only does this open investment capacity to Metro Manila clients. It opens to provincial and overseas clients which comprise a large community. And it’s going to be an active community."

So, wow, this service was even developed with investors like me in mind; that made me so goddamn special!

Don't even bother going to the website the article mentioned (, it will get you nowhere since there's no way to log in or sign up or anything. Just go directly to your BPI Express Online account and navigate to the following link:

The site will ask you to accomplish several forms, including one which assesses your risk aversion and recommends funds that best suit your risk profile. The entire process took me more than a few minutes; don't make the mistake of spending too much time on any one page since BPI Express Online only gives you like 2 minutes until it flashes the following prompt

and automatically logs you out of your session (it happened to me twice when I was trying to apply).

Eventually I reached the "final" page, upon completion of which, led me to the following message.

I was like... what... the... @#$%? I thought you guys were thinking of overseas Pinoy investors when you were developing this thing? And now, after spending all that precious time filling out forms and taking your stupid risk assessment test, you're asking me to print the forms I've already accomplished online (and presumably you already have) and deliver these lousy pieces of paper to the nearest branch? What for, my lousy signature, proof of my identity? Didn't I already give you these things when I opened my bank and Express Online accounts? What are we, still in the @#$%ing middle ages? If this is what being "one step ahead" with technology means, I'm afraid to even imagine what being left behind looks like. And by the way, I'm in Hong Kong, and the nearest branch from here is in @#$%ing Ilocos Norte, you mother@#$%ing morons!

Anyway, it took me 5 minutes tops to gather my senses and think of a more constructive way of dealing with the situation. That's when I decided to send an email to BPI Express Online. I'll show you how it went in Part 2.
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