Updated: June 27, 2018
So finally, PERA is available for everyone to invest in. As of writing, it’s not really being advertised or promoted yet. But you can definitely invest and open a PERA account already.
Today, I’m sharing with you my experience in opening a PERA account. I did this through BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands).
If you’re not familiar with PERA investment or the Personal Equity and Retirement Account, then you can read the previous articles I’ve written:
- PERA Facts: Personal Equity and Retirement Account Philippines
- For 2017, Be Sure to Invest in P.E.R.A.
Opening a PERA Account
The first thing I did was to go to my branch and inquired about it. The bank officer referred me to the manager, who then told me that they don’t have full knowledge about it.
However, she asked for my email and mobile number, and said that she’ll refer me to a PERA Individual Administrator, who will contact me to answer my questions. I gave those to her and left the bank.
The next day, the BPI PERA Individual Administrator assigned to my area called and we talked for almost half an hour regarding the process of opening an account.
The first part of our conversation revolved around her explaining to me what PERA is. She wanted to set an appointment to explain further but I said that it won’t be necessary.
The second half of our talk was my turn to ask questions. Particularly, on the process of opening an account without the need to go to the BPI Main Branch office.
I learned it was possible, as she’ll just send the application form to my branch. I would just need to fill it up, and my branch would submit it back to them, to which I agreed.
A few days after, my branch called to inform me that the application form was already there. I went the next day, completed the form, and submitted my requirements. And that’s it! The whole process is pretty smooth and straightforward.
By the way, in case you’re wondering, here are the requirements for opening a PERA account with BPI:
- A BPI savings or checking account to serve as a settlement account
- A valid government ID
- A Tax Identification Number (TIN) – Read: How to apply for TIN
- A TIN ID, or copy of your ITR, or any document that can validate the TIN
- 1,000 Pesos – Initial Amount of Investment and exclusive of Fees
The smallest starting amount you can invest is just P1,000 and the maximum is P100,000 per year; but P200,000 for OFWs.
How OFWs can invest in PERA
There are three (3) options. The OFW can physically go to the bank when you’re in the Philippines. Or you can ask your spouse to open one for you. Or lastly, any of your children.
I forgot to ask if parents or siblings are allowed to open an account for OFWs. Maybe that’s something you can ask for me when you inquire.
Additional requirements for OFWs:
- Overseas Employment Certificate issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
- Any official document showing that he will earn or has earned income in a foreign country in the year of the PERA contribution
Lastly, the P200,000 per year limit is per person. So if you’re married, and both you and your spouse are OFWs, then your maximum limit as a couple in PERA contributions is P400,000 per year.
My recommendation is to maximize this if you can afford it.
As per the one I talked to from BPI, it’s not yet possible to do automated contributions to PERA just like how I do it with their RSP (Regular Subscription Plan); or BDO’s EIP (Easy Investment Plan).
Moreover, it’s actually not recommended (for now) to do this because you’ll have to pay administrative fees each time, which can amount to a significant amount. So the cheapest way is to do it lump-sum every year to minimize fees.
Also, I like how you have control over where to put your money. You can choose to place it in different PERA funds that range from conservative (Money Market Fund) to aggressive (Equity Fund).
But if you ask me, if you’re 45 years old or younger, then put it all on the Equity Fund.
However, BPI also gives you the option to assign your own Investment Manager, or choose them as your fund manager.
From what I learned, BPI can actively manage your investment and apply “bucket investing” wherein the money is invested according to your time horizon. Your money will go from aggressive to conservative investments as you near the age of 55.
Lastly, I discovered a PDF copy of the BPI Application Form online. If you’d like to download it, then just click here.
If I had only known, then I would have skipped that part when I waited for the forms to arrive in my branch. But hopefully, access to PERA becomes more widespread in the next months and year.
How about you? Have you already opened a PERA investment? Please share your story below? Thanks.