Philippine Stock Exchange

The GCash effect: More middle-income earners join stock market

Ralf Rivas

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

The GCash effect: More middle-income earners join stock market
Filipinos earning less than P500,000 a year comprise bulk of stock market traders

MANILA, Philippines – There are now almost 2 million stock traders in the Philippines, bulk of whom comprise the middle class, as fintech giant GCash and its stock trading platform encouraged more people to invest.

The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Wednesday, May 29, said there are now over 1.9 million stock market accounts as of end-2023, a new record high. The figure is an 11.3% increase or 193,285 more accounts from 1.7 million accounts in 2022.

“The growth was mainly due to new accounts opened through the GStocksPH platform, which also pushed the share of online accounts to 80% of total stock market accounts,” the PSE said.

Online accounts stood at 1.5 million as of end-2023, up by 21.2% or 266,861 accounts.

“Giving e-wallet holders direct access to the stock market is instrumental in our drive to increase retail investor participation in the market,” said PSE president and chief executive officer Ramon Monzon.

GCash has over 80 million users.

Monzon said the PSE’s partnership with the Department of Migrant Workers to conduct learning sessions on financial literacy for overseas Filipino workers could further boost the number of investors.

In terms of classification, retail investors made up 98.5% of total accounts while the remaining 1.5% belonged to institutional investors. Retail accounts comprised 99.9% of total online accounts. 

The average value per online trade inched up by 1.8% to P47,050 from the 2022 average of P46,236. 

The average value per trade in terms of total market transactions in 2023 was at P85,385, an increase of 9.6% from P77,926.

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More middle class 

Those earning less than P500,000 a year had the most number of online accounts, comprising 76.7% of total accounts, higher than the 72.9% registered in 2022.

Interestingly, investors earning between P500,000 and P1 million saw a decrease in their share to 11.9% from 13.6% for online accounts and 14.4% from 25.6% for total accounts. 

The share of the above P1 million earners slipped from 13.6% to 11.4% for online accounts and from 20.9% to 14.7% for total accounts.

Gen Zs catching up

Millennials and Gen X or those in the 30-44 age range continued to have the biggest share in online and total accounts, but their share slightly declined in 2023. They made up 49% of online accounts from 55.7% and comprised 45.6% of the total accounts from 49.8%. 

Gen Zs and younger millennials or 18- to 29-year-old investors also saw an increase in online accounts, from 20.8% to 21.5%.

The 45- to 59-year-olds saw a slight bump up to 18.6% from 18.4%, while retirees or those aged 60 and above jumped to 10.9% from 5%.

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More investors outside Manila

PSE data showed that investors in Metro Manila saw a sharp dip in terms of total share, from 84.6% to 68% for online accounts, and from 81.5% to 68.2% for total accounts.

Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao registered growth in their proportionate share to total investors. 

For Luzon, online accounts jumped to 18.7% from 8.6% and increased to 18.6% from 10.7% for total accounts. Visayas investors increased their share to 6.5% from 2.9% for online accounts and 6.6% from 3.7% for total accounts. Retail investors in Mindanao rose to 5.8% from 2.3% while total accounts went up to 5.5% from 2.5%.

“Aside from e-wallets serving as access point to stock investing, the exchange’s programs such as PSE EASy paved the way for investors based outside Metro Manila to invest in the stock market. I hope this growth in non-Metro Manila investors will be sustained over the years so that the geographical aspect of financial inclusion is addressed,” Monzon said. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.