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Online stockbrokerage profit up 25%.

Leading online stock brokerage COL Financial reported a banner year despite a tough stock market environment in 2016, with net profit rising by a quarter to a record P328 million while revenue and market share also hit unprecedented levels.

Taking out nonrecurring items, primarily the booking of one-off tax expenses in 2015, COL's recurring net profit last year rose by 14.7 percent to P328.5 million.

Last year's profit performance boosted COL's return on equity to 24 percent from only 20 percent in 2016.

'Our highly scalable business has shown operating leverage in 2016 as net income grew at a much faster pace than revenues,' COL president Conrado Bate said during the company's stockholders meeting last week.

Consolidated revenue rose by 13.1 percent to a record P833.8 million. This was attributed to the significant growth in the value of transactions handled by COL as its share of value turnover in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) reached 5.6 percent from 3.9 percent in 2015.

Its share in terms of value of local transactions also jumped to a new high of 11.9 percent last year from 7.7 percent in 2015. Its rank in terms of value traded in the PSE improved to number six from number eight previously. It also maintained its number one position in terms of volume of transactions as it cornered 20.6 percent of the total during the year.

COL's commission revenue last year rose by 24.4 percent to P605.6 million, driven by the 30.4-percent jump in commissions from Philippine operations, making up for the slack in Hong Kong operations. Commissions grew despite the 10.3 percent drop in the value turnover of the PSE in the same period as COL started to reap the benefit of its continuously growing client base.

The brokerage ended the year with more than 205,000 accounts, almost 43,000 more than its year-ago level. Client equity handled by COL also rose to P59.5 billion as of end-2016 from P47.1 billion a year ago.

Bate added: '2016 was a pivotal year as we reshaped the brokerage industry and began transforming ourselves into a formidable and diversified financial service provider. This shift will not come without challenges but we believe there are more opportunities on the horizon,' Bate said.

COL launched a new fund distribution business 18 months ago. Despite being a newcomer, COL Fund Source ended its first full year in 2016 with more than 18,000 clients while the total value of assets under administration reached P1.3 billion. COL's mutual fund net sales reached P846.4 million in 2016, bringing its share to total industry net sales to 17 percent.

COL Fund Source currently carries the peso-denominated funds of six asset management companies which together account for around 98 percent of the assets under management of the mutual fund industry.

'We are glad to see the continuous growth of our client base and their investments which is a clear testament to our success in educating and encouraging more Filipinos to save and invest,' Bate said.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Article Type:Financial report
Date:Apr 3, 2017
Words:583
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