An updated guide for Filipino parents who want to set up savings accounts for their children age...Read More
In 2009, the year after I passed my board exams and started working, I opened investment accounts with both Philequity (PEFI) and First Metro (FAMI). I was newly “adulting” and had come across advice that basically said, “invest and forget.” It was not advice to be taken literally but rather a pithy way of saying: invest in a good fund; don’t check its value everyday; don’t make reactionary decisions; just let it stay in the fund for years and it will grow.
Fast forward to 2022 and indeed I had practically forgotten my PEFI and FAMI funds — so much so that I hadn’t even been able to update my name, address, email address, and phone number in their records as these changed throughout the years. It hadn’t mattered much because I was still committed to “forgetting” my little investments. But I recently realized that it would have to be done eventually and I would have to commit the time to do it.
If, for whatever reason, you also need to update your investment accounts with Philequity or FAMI and you would like to have an idea on how the process goes from someone’s actual, recent experience — read on!
I didn’t see much information in the FAMI website about how to update my records, so I searched their website for an update form, attached the supporting documents that I believed to be relevant, and emailed everything to email@example.com.
Early the next day, a FAMI representative got back to me. Noting that it was their policy to require clients to update their accounts every 3 years (oops!), they asked me to submit to them by email the following documents:
I did as FAMI instructed:
(If you’re wondering if you should check the box that states you’re the beneficial owner of the account, yes, you should. I didn’t check it, initially, and I had to revise and resend that page.)
I also printed out a copy of the ID page of my passport, signed it manually three times, took a photo, and converted it to PDF.
I emailed them all, including supporting documents, to FAMI.
In FAMI’s previous email to me, they had assigned me to a relationship manager, but I noticed that the relationship manager continued to Cc the main FAMI account in her emails, so I did the same thing.
I also offered to go on a video call with them if needed to verify my identity or any of the details in my account. (They didn’t take me up on it.)
When everything was finally found to be in order, I was told that my documents would be forwarded to the people in charge of updating the records, and that I would receive an email and SMS once this was done.
You need four documents to update your investment account records with PhilEquity:
If your name change is due to marriage, be proactive and just also submit a scan of your marriage certificate issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority.
For my ID, I submitted a scan of my passport, while my proof of billing was my latest Globe At Home bill.
* These are the IDs that Philequity consider valid:
The Account Update Form and all supporting documents should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I filled up the Account Update Form digitally (it’s an editable PDF file that can be filled up and saved on the computer).
In the body of my email, I introduced myself and briefly explained why I needed to update my records. I listed down all the documents I was attaching and I also offered to go on a video call if needed to verify any of the information I had submitted.
Within 14 minutes, a representative from PhilEquity had already emailed me back and asked me to revise a part of the form that I had mistakenly just put “N/A” in.
The next day, the representative again emailed me and noted that the signature I used in the form was digitized. In order for this to be permitted, they would like to speak with me personally. We did a Zoom call that same day, during which I verified the info I had submitted, and then they told me that the update would be completed within 24 hours.
I call it a saga because I actually tried to update my FAMI account records around 5 years ago, but it didn’t push through because they said my signature didn’t match the one in my ID. And it really didn’t because, I don’t know, whenever I sign for my passport I get super conscious about getting my signature right that it ends up looking wrong. So the funny thing is that an accomplished forger could have perfectly matched the signature in my passport, whereas if I just sign the way I normally do, it will not match my passport signature. Back then, I was like, “Gahhh I don’t have time for this,” so I didn’t go ahead with the account update.
This time, I thought I’d hit on a foolproof way for the signatures to match — I just used a digital signature (via Adobe Reader) on my update forms.
Apparently, that wouldn’t work either. Most financial institutions require a “wet signature” — a signature made manually, i.e. pen on paper.
I think we are starting to move away from using signatures for identity verification. The national ID (PhilSys) doesn’t contain a signature, for example. And it actually makes sense because, as I mentioned above, an accomplished criminal could perfectly replicate a signature, whereas us actual owners of said signature sometimes mess up.
Moreover, requiring wet signatures — print, pen on paper, then scan — presupposes that everyone has printers and scanners. That’s getting to be a big ask in this age of digitization, besides being a waste of paper. Heck, even banks have stopped providing us with paper statements and put everything online.
(Iris scans would be so much better, don’t you think?)
Nonetheless, signatures — and “wet signatures” in particular — are still de rigueur among many institutions.
Interestingly, when I updated my account records with FAMI and PEFI, I encountered two different responses to my use of a digital signature:
If I’d had a nice printer and a scanner (and ideally a secretary to take care of the whole process for me) either method would have worked just fine. But since I only have a black-and-white laser printer, no scanner, and just myself to do paperwork, I much preferred going on Zoom to assure the peeps concerned that I am who I say I am.
Adulting, eh? ^_^