Currently, I only have one mutual funds account and that is under FAMI or First Metro Asset Management Inc., the mutual funds arm of one of the biggest banks in the Philippines – Metrobank. I wasn’t paid by Metrobank to do this; I’m simply a client of theirs wanting to share to anyone interested what I know and experienced about this mutual fund.
Before I share my experience with them so far, here’s an overview of what’s on offer:
- 4 mutual funds types – Save & Learn Equity Fund (SALEF), Save & Learn Fixed Income Fund (SALFIF), Save & Learn Balanced Fund (SALBF), and Save & Learn Money Market Fund (SALMF).
- Their Cebu office is at Ground Floor, Metrobank Plaza Bldg., Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City. Telephone number is (032) 520-5696.
- They have a Makati Office at 18th Floor PSBank Center, 777 Paseo de Roxas Ave., cor. Sedeño St., Salcedo Village, Makati. Telephone number is (632) 891-2860 to 65
- Minimum amount required to start an account is Php 5,000 with 2% processing fee. Top-ups should be at least Php 1,000 with 2% processing fee. No other fees except the 2%.
- Holding period is 6 months; pre-6 months exit fee is 1%
Now, here are my experiences with FAMI so far:
Opening an account was very convenient for me
The fact that their Cebu office is very near my place of work and that I already have a Metrobank savings account are the main reasons why I chose to go with FAMI. Of course, Metrobank’s solid reputation as a bank and FAMI’s great past performance and previous awards helped.
Basically, I just went there during my 1 hour lunch break and the guy I transacted with (James) gave me a brief but concise overview of their products and some supporting documents to go. The next week after I got my money ready, I went back there and in less than 20 minutes, I had a FAMI account! It was fast, hassle-free, and very convenient. It must be noted though that I did extensive research about my choices beforehand and readied my questions. That must’ve helped speed up my process.
Keeping track of the shares I bought was less convenient
Unfortunately, there’s no online monitoring for FAMI yet. Every time I order shares, I get a receipt and two months later I get a letter from them tallying all my bought shares so far. Take note that’s two months but that’s supposed to be a monthly thing. I really don’t know if that’s FAMI’s fault or the post office’s general snail pace. But basically, it can get confusing so I resorted to keeping track of things through a personal spreadsheet.
You can easily buy new shares online though if you have a Metrobank account (savings or checking) and you’ve activated online banking. You can then pay FAMI through the Pay Bills button. This is something I’ve taken advantage since the early days of my mutual funds account.
Selling shares is easy, fast and very convenient
As far as I understand it, legal mutual funds in the Philippines are required by law to process any shares a client wishes to sell without delay, and in case of FAMI, must deposit the money to the client’s bank account within 7 working days.
When I sold some of my shares (I had to because I needed some money for my grandma’s eye operation), the money was supposed to be due in my account Tuesday of the next week. But I talked to one of FAMI’s people and asked if they could expedite the transaction since the operation was that coming weekend. He said he’ll do his best and indeed I received the money on Friday, just in time for my grandma’s surgery. I really appreciated that fact and remain thankful even now.
I just went to their office, presented the receipts of those bought shares I wished to sell and there was no hassle at all. The process did not last 15 minutes I’m sure.
Customer service is great
I usually get to deal with a guy named James here in the Cebu office and I find him really good at what he does. He is able to explain things properly and caters to my needs as speedily as he can. He is a personable fellow, courteous, and all in all a helpful guy.
So far I’ve not contacted FAMI by phone so I cannot comment about their call agents (if they have any).
Profit is good considering recent economic downturns
So far, I can say that the mutual fund I chose from FAMI, which is the SALEF, is performing really well considering recent market upheavals. Metrobank has always been known for its conservative management of clients’ money and FAMI is no different. As a result, despite the ups and downs in the market, I’ve enjoyed steady growth in my funds. When I first bought shares, they were selling for around 3.2 php. When I sold some of them a few months back, their price was already at around 5.2 php. So yes I did make some profit.
FAMI is good overall
Yes, I can say that my experience with FAMI mutual funds so far is good. I will continue to stay with FAMI in the foreseeable future and I’m even thinking of trying First Metro Sec., the stocks investing arm of Metrobank.