I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI).
In the past, I’ve ranted about their customer service, the ATMs that do not dispense cash, BPI’s smartphone iOS app which proved too tedious to download and my missing stocks in BPI Trade’s online trading platform.
I’ve been severely disappointed by them so many times, but they also provide me conveniences and perks that make me stay. Ours is indeed a whirlwind of a relationship but to this date, I can say I’m still generally satisfied with BPI.
Here’s another one of those stories that makes me like them.
Upgraded BPI Trade website
Starting today, we are finally going to see a long-delayed upgrade of BPI Trade’s online trading platform (www.bpitrade.com). After years of what seemed like an early-2000-esque technology, BPI Trade is to re-launch today with a better layout, upgraded features and a more advanced trading platform.
First, a disclaimer. This is NOT a paid post. I am not going to benefit, in any way, by making this article. What I’m merely doing is sharing an objective opinion regarding BPI’s new trading website, an online trading platform I have been using for almost a decade now. BPI Trade is my first — and currently still my primary — online trading platform. I do have accounts with CitisecOnline (COL) and Angping Online but have not used any of them them yet for active trading.
With that background, let me now go to my comments about BPI Trade’s upgraded online trading platform.
Fresh, new layout
What greets the user is a fresher, more dynamic homepage that is obviously miles apart from the drab, ho-hum layout of the previous version. There is, as expected, the login box and a small sidebar that summarizes the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi)’s performance in terms of index points, daily percentage change, and value turnover.
If, however, you’re looking for basic data about the trading day’s highlights, you will have to login to the site. I’d prefer, though, that the homepage already displays a summary of important market info, such as sector indices’ performance or Top 10 Most Traded Stocks or Top 10 Gainers and Losers, for instance.
Still, another good thing about the homepage is that the user can choose which specific section of the site they can start with upon logging in. Choices are the Main section, Charts, Research, Quotes, Trading, Analytics, and News.
Our additional research shows that the platform is actually licensed from Technistock, a local provider of financial data and trading platforms. Aside from BPI Securities, their other clients include First Metro Securities, Wealth Securities, and AB Capital Securities, among others, which explains why they all share a similar look and layout.
Once logged in, users will surely recognize a brand-new version that is a lot different from the boring and formal layout of the old trading platform. The new site is also packed with useful features obviously meant to compete with the offerings of BPI Trade’s competitors such as CitisecOnline (COL), PhilStocks, First Metro Securities, and Angping Online, among others.
The Quotes section, for one, is overflowing with data that newbie and expert traders will surely find helpful. A more detailed and user-friendly stock quotes are available, clearly identifying the names of brokers buying and selling any given stock. In the old version, only the Broker’s ID was identified but, in the new version, the broker’s name is identified for every trade. The brokers are also ranked in terms of total trades done during the day, making it easier for retail investors to judge if certain brokers are merely jockeying up prices or crossing trades.
More options for Stock Trading Orders
The Trading section appears similar to the one in the previous version but a welcome improvement is the offering not just of a Day order but also Good This Week (GTW) and Good This Month (GTM) orders (see Types of Stock Trading Orders).
This means traders can leave their trades open, if the set price is not met, until the end of the week or the end of the month. I wonder, though, why BPI still has not allowed a Good Till Canceled (GTC) order.
Another surprising improvement is the tabular display of one’s stock Portfolio which now includes real-time summary of the unrealized gains or losses. I have always wanted something like this in the old version in order to give me a snapshot of my real-time trading performance.
Actually this is one of the reasons why CitisecOnline’s trading platform is more advanced than BPI Trade’s. With this summary, the user can already know if he or she is winning or losing and by how much. In the new BPI Trade site, the average cost of each stock bought is automatically computed and the unrealized profit/loss in monetary and percentage terms are displayed. This, for me, is one of the strengths of the new platform.
Charting for Technical Analysts
One new section, meanwhile, is Analytics, offering real competition to the advanced services seen in COL or other online trading websites. Here users can create a Watchlist, or a group of stocks that will be automatically tracked by the system. What’s more useful, though, are the financial and technical information provided for each traded stock.
A stock’s financial highlights, including basic balance sheet figures and important ratios (such as Earnings per Share, Price-Earning-Ratio, Debt to Equity Ratio, and Dividend Yield, among others) are provided, simplifying the financial analysis process for most investors. Fundamental analysts can easily refer to this data to come up with their own computation of a stock’s target price.
The site also has something for technical analysts or chartists. With the new version, BPI Trade seems bent on waging a direct attack against online trading leader CitisecOnline by offering a comprehensive charting tool that not only summarizes technical indicators for each stock — such as Moving Average Convergence/Divergence (MACD) and Relative Strength Index (RSI) — but complements this with dynamic Charts that chartists can use for free. I am not yet that adept with charting but given this new feature in BPI Trade, I might find time to study technical analysis again.
What about Equity Research Report?
Finally, the new BPI Trade site still carries the Research section but, as of today, there is no content yet. The daily market updates will surely be there, plus company news and financial information. Whether BPI Trade will finally issue their own equity research reports, however, remains to be seen.
Among local online trading platform providers, BPI seems to be the only one that does not release an Equity Valuation report, that is, an investment research with target prices for each stock. If BPI wants to become a leading player in this industry, it has to offer this service in order to be at par with other brokers like COL, PhilStocks, First Metro, Angping and Unicapital Securities.
BPI Trade’s decision to upgrade its decade-old website is definitely a welcome development. With new features and advanced functionalities, BPI expcts to grab market share away from current leader CitisecOnline while cementing its position as the No. 2 online trading website.
What do you think of BPI Trade’s upgrade? Will it make you stay with them (if a current user) or migrate to their platform (if currently using another broker’s site)? Let us know your thoughts.
Other interesting, must-read articles:
- Stocks Tutorial and Trading Guide
- CitisecOnline (COL) EIP Stock Picks (January 2013)
- Maybank ATR Kim Eng: Top 10 Stock Picks (January 2013)
- PMT Forum: Best PSE stocks to buy in 2013?