Best Forex Broker in the Philippines for 2023 [Updated]
A country associated with fantastic islands and tourism took a heavy blow during the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time the Philippines recorded positive GDP growth before the pandemic was in 2019 with 6.6%, only to drop to a scary -16% in mid-2020. Yet, the rebound the Philippines is experiencing in 2022 surpasses official estimates. In the last 4 quarters, it is close to 10% on average. Actual 8.3% growth in Q1 2022 despite an expected 6.5%. Combine this with the young population- about 60% of the total population are aged below 30, and the Philippines is regarded as one of the fastest-growing countries in the Southeast Asia region. This is further confirmed by a sharp rebound of FDI - a 46% rise in February 2022 year on year. Fintech is following this trend, growth and adoption in this sector are increasing. Both Ease of Doing Business and Business Confidence indexes are rising in recent months according to official sources and the World Bank stats.
Popular Brokers that Accept Philippines' Traders
Philippine Peso (PHP), the official country currency, is showing a steady rate against the USD, mostly floating in the 50 range for one USD but rising in 2022. Unfortunately, the Philippines' minimum wage is about 10$/day (officially 537PHP/day in 2022) and it is not uncommon that most of the family income comes from overseas remittances. Forex trading is popular, trading easily blends with the culture, generally cheerful sentiment, and motivation for financial freedom. English is one of the official languages which facilitates forex education, promotion, adoption, and openness to do business in the country.
The forex brokerage business is regulated by two entities. The central bank, The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on the operational, payments, settlement oversight, and monetary operations. The second body that is directly relevant to the forex brokerage industry is The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Although, similarly to other island countries such as Vanuatu, regulation in the Philippines raises common questions associated with a corrupt environment. The Philippines has problems with weak law enforcement, inefficient courts, and complex procedures that give birth to many scam companies that allegedly provide facilitation services. Furthermore, undeveloped infrastructure, power supply, and broadband connections still pose challenges for new forex brokerages. SEC stepped up to fight rising forex fraud practices starting in 2018 with an advisory notice tagging all forex businesses in the country as illegal. However, that advisory has been pulled back as the government set new regulatory frameworks and recognized trends prevalent in the fintech industry. Various forex brokerage services were offered before 2022 without specialized regulations or oversight.
As of 2022, searching for the best broker in the Philippines must include the SEC's list of licensed companies. This regulatory body is working hard to facilitate the opening of new financial businesses that also involve cryptocurrencies. The first Bitcoin ATMs are opened by Union Bank of the Philippines in 2019, and the demand for crypto transactions mainly driven by abroad workers is pushing regulatory updates every month since. In 2022 the Philippines' national Digital Currency project is being studied, even though the central bank announced that it discourages the use of digital money. Interestingly, 13 crypto exchanges are currently operating inside the country. More projects such as a decentralized ledger technology (DLT)-is announced for the distribution of retail treasury bonds.
The Philippines government does not restrict local traders to choose any broker they want, meaning many established brokerage names accept Philippino clients. Background checks are always recommended when on the lookout for the best broker in the Philippines, even if the company is licensed by SEC or BSP. SEC online service has Contact Center, chat, regularly updated notices, and guides on how to file complaints. However, the process may look complex, especially because some complaints must be filed with other SEC departments such as Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD), Markets and Securities Regulation Department (MSRD), etc.
How to check if a Philippines broker is legit?
Always check for regulations and user reviews. Useful portals are:
How to file a dispute with a Philippino registered broker?
The best official website for this is SEC. You may need to address a different department depending on the nature of your complaint. For more info go here: https://www.sec.gov.ph/lending-companies-and-financing-companies-2/complaints/
Are Philippines brokers reliable?
Licensed brokerages can be considered reliable in the Philippines. Note that the law enforcement complex procedures and courts are still a burden in this island country. Even if your complaint is accepted, it may take some time before any settlement. If you find any trading-related app or unlisted brokerage, there is a high probability this is a scam.