Feb 27, 2014
U Trade's Coming Out Party
Location: Cebu City, Cebu (province), Philippines
Betting the Ranch
It has been a long time since I dipped my fingers on online trading (internet bubble circa 2000). I saw a Lamborghini Diablo and I was consumed by it. I wanted to have one. I didn't even have a car at that time. I decided that the fastest way to own one was through online trading. I devoured the trading books, visited numerous trading websites, scrutinized a few securities brokers, etc. I did my due-diligence. I came into it gung ho and arrogant. I broke all the rules, thinking that the rules only applied to 'them'. I thought I was smart enough to beat the system. I bet the ranch (figuratively)!
When Nortel, the darling stock of Nasdaq, took a nose dive from US$65 to to upper teens and down to single digits, with me canceling my 'sell-stop', I came out of the game humbled and penniless. I nearly put out a sign on the street corner saying, "will HTML for food". All of that took less than a month. The only good thing that came out of it was my realization that losing everything except the shirt on my back didn't faze me. I wasn't even sad. With a surgical grin, I even thought, "Wow, what a roller coaster ride! I love it!" - I suspect I have a pathological aversion to money. Of course, this is in sharp contrast to Mercle (think Germany's "Warren Buffet") who threw himself on a coming train after outsmarting himself in the Porsche short-squeeze that put him in play.
Yoga, Banking and Booze
So I didn't know what to make of it when fellow yoga teacher, Kaye Luym-Salas (otherwise known as the Director of Possibilities for A~List Events, PR and Advertising) sent me an invite for the launching of UniCapital's online trading platform, U Trade. I wasn't exactly jumping out of my skin feeling gaga over it, but the invite also mentioned, "heavy cocktails will be served, drinks will be flowing" - ah, she got my attention.
Unicapital has been around since 1997. It is a full-service securities brokerage house that helps rich people get richer through equities trading with the Philippine Stock Exchange. Apparently, online trading is still in its infancy in the Philippines, and U Trade is blazing the trail.
||You are all very special to us. We did not scrimp on the food and drinks for this occasion. -- Leonardo Arguelles, Jr., U Trade President
Leonardo Arguelles, Jr.
U Trade President, Mr. Leonardo Arguelles, Jr. took to the podium and said that they have learned from the mistakes of the previous players and now aim to be the major mover in the industry. I had a brief chat with him. Having had a few glasses of red and white wine, I could be forgiven for remembering whatever was said that night as a blur. But he exuded an air of optimism and can-do demeanor that I found infectious. Moreover, he took me over when he said on the podium, "You are all very special to us. We did not scrimp on the food and drinks for this occasion." LOL!!! I love his candor. When talking to him, you don't have to read between the lines. He spells it out for you!
Investment Banking vs. Commercial Banks
But what exactly is an investment bank? Is it the same as BDO, PNB or BPI? In theory, they perform different functions. You go to a commercial bank (sometimes referred to as merchant bank, like BDO, PNB or BPI) to deposit money, secure your ATM card, or ask for a car loan. Investment banks provide service and financial advice to businesses. They facilitate in Mergers & Acquisitions, underwriting and issuing stocks and bonds, etc. In practice however, they overlap. This is when it gets dangerous. The sub-prime market meltdown in 2007 resulted largely due to this (derivatives trading - but let's not go into that).
I'm not exactly familiar with the local scene when it comes to online trading. And whatever I remember from my trading days was still back in 2000 in Canada where I was taking residency at that time. Altogether though, I feel it's high time for online trading to be established as an industry. There is money stacked up here with nowhere to go due to lack of investment vehicles - money transmitted by OFWs, cash inflow from BPOs, etc. Online trading adds liquidity to the market. If confidence is high that the playing field is level and markets being efficient and technological mechanism is adequately in place (ie, having 'sell stops' and 'buy stops'), perhaps the investing paradigm can shift and U Trade can indeed be the leading industry mover and shaker for online trading not just in Cebu but for the whole archipelago.
Leonardo Arguelles, Jr.
(Mar 2, 2014) It was a pleasure to have met you last Thursday at Tavolata. I would like to personally extend my invitation for you to join us next Thursday, 6 March, in Cebu. Venue shall be announced later. Lastly, thanks for covering us in your blog. More power to you.
Jaime J. Martirez
(Mar 1, 2014) I read your blog and I thank you for writing about the event of Unitrade at Tavolata. Your column will certainly go a long way in helping us establish a presence in Cebu. There is no doubt in my mind in choosing Cebu as the launching pad of Utrade. I truly believe that Cebu is the market that we believe can contribute significantly to the growth of the Philippine Capital Market with the abundance of budding young entrepeneurs who are the drivers of our economic growth and has put the Philippines in the map as one of the preferred investment destinations in Asia. We appreciate what you have done for Utrade and we, the Unicapital Group look forward to your continued support in our endeavour to generate more awareness and opportunities for the Cebuanos to consider the capital markets for their business expansion with the help of the Unicapital Group of Companies.
3/F Majalco Building, Benavides cor. Trasierra Streets,
Makati City, Philippines
3/F Majalco Building, Benavides corner Trasierra Streets,
Legaspi Village Makati City 1229
(632) 892-0991 to 96
Fax: (632) 818-2127
Cebu City, Philippines
Tops - hilltop offering panoramic view of the city
Taoist Temple - temple on a hillslope in Lahug with panoramic view of the city
- Hostel Seven Cebu - newly opened, resto/bar, central location, solo/group travellers
Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City
- S Hotel & Residences - new hotel, luxury rooms, central location
827 M. Velez corner Andres Abellana St.
resto / cafe / bar
- Fujinoya - new and refreshing twists to Western style desserts using Japanese techniques
Wilson St., Lahug, Cebu City - tel. 888.6075
- Bad Boys Wingz - Buffalo Wings, unique versions of sauces! Great service, accommodating staff, bad boys vibe
Kasambagan, Cebu City | (032) 415 4811
- Love Yoga World - yoga studio
11/fl, Skyrise 2 Tower, IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City
- Yoga Now - first Yoga and Wellness studio in Mactan offering daily Yoga Classes
at The Yacht Club Mactan
- Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure - MTB tours, bike sales and repairs. Bed and Breakfast + Resto Cafe + wifi
1298-b V.Rama Ave, Guadalupe, Cebu City | 0942.959.7451
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
Feb 27, 2014
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