I am always very quick to point out that my knowledge of investing anywhere in the world is limited to what most lay people with an interest in money might share. I have played the stock market in the Philippines and it is no different to anywhere else so those who are familiar with stocks, bonds, buys, puts, options and all that bull and bear stuff will feel right at home.
There are other forms of investment and I cover these more in my book, ‘Making A Living In The Philippines’ but I will say here that you can make money just as you can lose it, too. So what’s new you ask?
The thing about investing in anything in the Philippines is that you can lose it so much faster and in so many ways than anywhere else. The recent Legacy debacle is a good point. Basically a group of rural banks were offering too good to be true interest rates on term deposits. For some years they paid the interest dividends and everyone was sweet. So sweet they brought their friends and family members on board to share the good fortune. Then came the Global Financial Crises and like any Ponzi scheme it collapsed. The jury is still out on whether it really was a Ponzi scheme or just a very risky, high return investment product but a lot of people lost a lot of money. So much money the usual government guarantees on deposits are yet to be paid because of the sheer scale of money lost.
You can invest in a bar, like I did. Everything would have gone fine if we hadn’t been ripped off by our obligatory Filipino partners. Yes, there are limits to the percentage of foreign ownership of businesses and investments and I cover these in my book, so you needn’t worry about where to find the information you need to complete your due diligence. In fact, my book is a great place to start for anyone considering investing in anything in the Philippines as it gives a solid ground floor education about the culture and the society and how business is done there.
On the upside, you can make money. You can find some great opportunities and you can do it with a lot less capital to start with than back home. People do it all the time there. The trick is to know what to look for, when to walk and who is going to be after your money from the moment you land. Forewarned is forearmed.