How much you can earn in stock index investing, PSEi

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In an earlier article, I talked about the many ways you can invest in the local stock index or Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi). I decided to make a separate article on earnings from stock index investing for people who may be looking for a more in-depth discussion.

This is going to answer the following:

  • how did stock index investing perform in the past?
  • in what ways can we forecast future earnings?
  • what is the ROI of investment funds that track the PSEi?

Stock index past performance

PSEi past performance since 1988

So the first thing is to check the data of the past return on investment (ROI) that the stock index posted. The ROI tells us how much it gained over the past years.

The table below shows the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR). The CAGR is like the yearly interest that the investment has grown. Also, you will see the cumulative growth. It is obtained by dividing the current and past index level. (Data is updated until July 22, 2019)

1 year12.11%12.11%
3 years1.01%3.05%
5 years3.78%120%
10 years12.21%317%
Since 19887.50%941%

As you can see, the Philippine Stock Exchange index is growing 7.50% per year since 1988. That beats any interest given in any savings accounts or time deposit offered by banks.

It’s also worth noting that the 10-year ROI is at 12.21%. So if you’ve invested a decade ago, your money would’ve tripled by today.

While saying that, it is sobering to see that the 5-year and 3-year returns have not sustained the double-digit growth. This is perhaps the market sentiment on inflation in the previous years and the government’s massive infrastructure plan through Build, Build, Build as well as foreign forces that were at play.

Stock index earnings forecast

Now that the ROI over different time periods is known, then it’s time to estimate future PSEi earnings. There is a question, however, on which ROI to use.

It’s quite tricky how far in the past we can go that would still make sense. That’s because the business climate is different today than in the previous decades, and the companies that make up the PSEi, even the market, have also changed considerably.

Going too far back might not necessary or even sensible.

Also, relying on recent performance may also not make sense. We might be riding on the high, and if we’re going to use that data it may make the forecast limited in the sense that it doesn’t take into account volatility of the stocks for the past few years.

10-year stock index returns

That’s why we’re going to use the 10-year PSEi returns. This way, the ROI includes both the high and the low over the past years and we assume that somehow it is going to perform similarly in the future.

So if you’ve invested P1 million 10 years ago, this is how much your money would’ve grown over the years since 2009.

2009 1,000,0001,000,000

So an investment of 1 million pesos in 2009 would’ve been 3,165,722 pesos in July 2019. That’s over two million pesos more.

But as you can see, it isn’t upward trend all the time. Compare 2016, 2017 and 2018 for instance. Data like this drives home the point that even with a diversified portfolio like the index, stock as a form of investment is generally volatile. It may swing up or down.

Another thing to conclude from the table is that there is value in long-term savings. While it’s true that 2017 and 2018 weren’t great, seen from the 10-year period, you still walk away with a gain.

Investing in stock index

We’ve already proven that it’s quite hard to buy individual stocks if your only goal is to duplicate the returns of the PSEi. It would require huuuge capital and a skill to re-balance your own portfolio regularly.

That’s why there are many alternatives that exist such as the following.

These investments funds have low initial capital requirement compared to buying direct stocks. A fund manager also does the trading for you so that anyone who has no background in securities analysis can participate. And that leaves you to earn passive income.

The table below shows a comparison in 1-year, 3-year and 5-year returns of the PSEi and the investment funds that mirrors its performance.

Philippine Stock Index Fund Corp.Mutual fund12.08%0.81%3.68%
Philippine PSE Index Fund Inc. Mutual fund12.03%1.09%3.71%
Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund, Inc.Mutual fund11.50%0.75%
PAMI Equity Index Fund, Inc.Mutual fund12.03%0.12%
Atram Philippine Equity Smart Index FundUITF10.18%
BDO Equity Index FundUITF9.74%
BPI Philippine Equity Index FundUITF10.40%
Landbank Equity Index FundUITF6.49%
Metro Philippine Equity Index Tracker FundUITF10.28%
PNB Phil-Index Tracker Fund(Formerly Pnb Enhanced Phil-Index Reference Fund)UITF10.07%
SB Philippine Equity Index FundUITF9.84%
UCPB Philippine Index Equity FundUITF9.88%
Unionbank Philippine Equity Index Tracker Fund PortfolioUITF10.38%
BDO PERA Equity Index FundPERA9.25%

So for the rest of this page, we’re going to explore how each of the above actually performed. We’re also going to try to make a forecast future earnings.

First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund (FMETF)

First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund (FMETF) is the only exchange-traded fund in the country. It is actually a stock that’s traded on the exchange.

However, what it is is it contains all the stocks on the PSEi. This is because its investment goal is to track the returns of the PSEi by acquiring all blue chip companies and matches their composition on the list.

The result is that its past returns closely resemble that of the index.

FMETF and PSEi chart through the years. (Bloomberg)

FMETF earnings

And this is the return on investment (ROI) of FMETF for the past few years.


As you can see, the compounded annual growth rate for the past 5 years is 4.72%. And if you invested your money in FMETF in 2015, your money would’ve grown 25.95% today.

FMETF past earnings

So let’s assume that you invested 1 million pesos five years ago. What would be your money today if you invested in FMETF? As you can see, your money would be 1,259,459 pesos as of July 2019.


Mutual fund – index fund

Investment funds (such as mutual fund, UITF, PERA, and VUL) that track the returns of the stock index are called index funds.

In particular, I found four mutual fund companies whose index funds are posting returns for the past few years: ALFM’s Philippine Stock Index Fund Corp., Philequity’s Philippine PSE Index Fund Inc., Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Stock Index Fund, Inc., and PAMI Equity Index Fund, Inc.

The fund that posted closest to PSEi 5-year return is Philippine PSE Index Fund from Philequity, which posted 3.71%.

Mutual fund – index fund past earnings


The table above shows how much an initial investment of 1 million pesos five years ago would be worth as of middle of 2019. It would’ve earned at least 199,784 pesos in capital gains.

Unit investment trust fund (UITF) – index funds

Index funds are also available through unit investment trust funds (UITF).

As of the moment, I can only find 9 UITF companies: Atram Philippine Equity Smart Index Fund, BDO Equity Index Fund, BPI Philippine Equity Index Fund, Landbank Equity Index Fund, Metro Philippine Equity Index Tracker Fund, PNB Phil-Index Tracker Fund (Formerly PNB Enhanced Phil-Index Reference Fund), SB Philippine Equity Index Fund, UCPB Philippine Index Equity Fund, and Unionbank Philippine Equity Index Tracker Fund Portfolio.

Let me mention that unfortunately, I can only find one-year returns for all of these funds.

In which case, there’s actually of little use to check on past or future earnings. The only sensible math we can come up is either the past one year or one year into the future, which is actually pretty straightforward.

For example, if we use the BPI Philippine Equity Index Fund’s return of 10.3955%, then a 1 million pesos a year ago would be worth 1,103,955 pesos today.

PERA – index fund

The Personal Equity and Retirement Account or PERA is a the Philippines’ version of the US 401 (k) program. It is designed specifically as a voluntary savings plan for Pinoys who would want to prepare for their future retirement.

As of the moment, there’s only one PERA index fund that’s permitted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the BDO PERA Equity Index Fund. And just like the UITFs, I can only find the 1-year return at 9.25%.

So making a historical or future PERA earnings would not be of any use as we only have limited data. Again, we’re restricted to track past 1-year for computation.

A 1 million-peso investment made a year ago would be worth 1,092,500 pesos today.

Variable universal life (VUL) – index fund

The variable universal life (VUL) is a type of life insurance that has an investment component. I am not going to explore any more details into their index funds. That’s because different insurers have many funds that they offer to consumers.

Additionally, the way that these policies are structured isn’t as simple as the other investment funds. For instance, there are many fees and charges involved.

Also, there’s varying ways insurers take the portion for insurance from the premium and another for investment. To be sure, set an appointment with a duly-licensed advisor.