A total game changer! Nathan McFarlane, Founder and CEO for Filpera of Arlo Associates sees himself spearheading financial literacy for Overseas Filipinos in the UAE. “Filpera seeks to help the Filipinos build their future and their families’ from the ground up through proper financial planning. Filipinos have been sold products that are not totally in line with their current financial standing, making it hard for them to create a well diversified portfolio. We guide Filipinos toward a holistic financial health to get them ready leading up to retirement,” McFarlane passionately explains.
How did it all start?
“The idea came about when I attended a Filipino friend’s birthday party. I’m surprised at how close-knit her family and friends are; and how eager they are to send money back home for their families’ needs and expenses. Putting their families first is one of the noblest virtues Filipinos should be proud of. In line with this, there’s also that disconnect with regard to the mindframe on how to save and where to save.” McFarlane candidly remembers.
He goes on to say that most of the financial advise given to Filipinos are biased. “Not giving clients options to choose from takes away their right to weigh which investment works out for them. The problem lies on the fact that not everyone knows the entirety of what’s being offered to them. ”
Why Filipinos and why now?
McFarlane says that Filipinos are very hardworking, but according to Social Enterprise Development Partnership Inc. 80% of the Filipinos don’t have savings. Taken that the Philippines is the third world’s largest remittance country in the world (after China and India), he said that it is surprising how many Filipinos return to the Philippines after years of working overseas without a concrete retirement plan.
With all the technologies available today, the internet plays a vital role in shaping the future of finance. As such, there are available financial technologies such as investment platforms, foreign exchange trading platforms that are available out there but are not familiar to them. He suggests that as expatriates, there’s an international pool of investments that they can take venture in. He continues that as global citizens, one should take a look at the importance of protection (insurance) and implications of currency volatility, inflation and factors that one might overlook when they sign up for an investment. “Filpera aims to educate Filipinos of these technologies. Currently, there is a huge disparity of Filipinos who lack the financial knowledge. They take investments at first sight without properly scrutinizing the ins and outs of the investment. My team calls it family referrals (investments through relatives or close friends).”
What is the Filpera brand all about?
The Filpera team is composed of internationally accredited Financial Advisors,an Asset Manager/Economist, an Associate Financial Planner, MBA graduates and professionals from different industries who understand the need for financial literacy. He continues, “the amount of inquiries we get from Filipinos who are just starting out here in the UAE and those who have been here for decades are overwhelming. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure that we are transparent and trustworthy while keeping the core Filipino values of respect, strong family ties, generosity and bayanihan unmarred.”
The brand’s tagline says it all Shaping the financially independent Filipino.
The main reason Filipinos move to the UAE is to seek a better life for them and their families financially and position themselves to a quality of life in the future. The biggest chunk of why Filipinos come to the UAE is to send their siblings or kids to school, followed by sustenance to their family’s monthly expenditures, savings, debt payments and investments.
Unfortunately due to the general stresses of life, the main purpose of travelling halfway around the world away from the people we care about is often forgotten. It is also to the detriment to our happiness and financial success.
We see the same story over and over again just repeating itself, our solution is to sit back and ask the questions of why we really come here in the first place and what needs to be done to ensure we achieve that.
Firstly we ask, “Why did you come here?” – The answer is more often than not money for my family.
Secondly we ask, “Do you send money back home?” – The answer to this 91% of the time is yes.
We then ask do you save anything for the future? – The answer is 72% of the time is no.
So ask ourselves, why stay in the UAE for so long when we are simply living in the now, supporting ourselves in the present, supporting our families in the present but not considering our futures both for ourselves and for our families.
Filpera is aiming to change the way OFW’s understand finance by educating on how to structure their money—from savings and protection to investment, ensuring that OFW’s in the UAE make the right financial decisions both in the present and the future.
With the Philippine economy slowly becoming one of the emerging markets in Asia, Filipinos still are bereft of adequate financial education and literacy. The Filipinos are still far behind financial literacy because this is never taught in school. According to Standard & Poor(S&P) Ratings and Services Survey, only 25% of Filipinos are financially literate. It’s not uncommon that the only mental paradigm a Filipino has to get out of poverty is to finish his education, find a decent job, build a house and start up a business. Although we don’t disregard the power of entrepreneurship, Filipinos lack a better understanding of savings and how to use the basic knowledge of finance to their advantage.
According to Janvic Mateo of the Inquirer: “DepEd has previously entered into an agreement with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to develop learner-friendly financial education initiatives.” On the other hand, the Commission of Filipino Overseas has an ongoing program called Kaalamang Pinansyal Tungo sa Kaunlaran or Kapit ka!, where they conduct trainings and seminar for families of Overseas Filipino Workers. Although there are efforts to bridge the gap on getting Filipinos to be financially literate, there’s clearly no guidance or the programs have not been blatantly publicized.
Migrant workers have this idea that a better life for their families back home means sending money to sustain their families’ expenditures while leaving a portion for savings or investment initiatives(in form of condominium, land, etc.). Hidden behind the shadows though are those Filipino workers who are in debt because of poor financial structure. Take into account the rising cost of commodities in the country they work in as well as accommodation, daily transport, and a poor financial background, it is not a far-fetched idea that Filipinos will fall into the pit of credit.
The silver lining lies in knowing the options that are available for Filipinos regarding their offshore requirements. Filipinos should know the importance of having an emergency fund, getting themselves and their families insured, then move to structure their pension and investments. People think that insurance is trivial but at the base of any financial portfolio, it should answer the question “If something happens to you, will your family be able to live the life you want them to live?”
We have an answer for you!
Filpera is a Filipino-dedicated Financial Advisory subsidiary of Arlo Associates that focuses on shaping each client’s financial landscape according to their goals. With a stellar team of Filipino managers and the guidance of Internationally Licensed Financial Advisors, we converge to achieve the dream of each Filipino – to make our families lives’ comfortable and/or retire enjoying our life-long hardwork. Whatever your goals are, our commitment is to lead you to make financial decisions that are reasonable and unbiased.
Filpera is the Financial Planning Division of Arlo Insurance Brokers LLC (Arlo Associates), licensed and regulated by the United Arab Emirates Insurance Authority Registration Number 248, Dubai Economic Department Commercial License Number 730646.
Filpera is the Debt Restructuring Division of Apex Restructuring Solutions Financing Broker LLC, licensed in the United Arab Emirates under the Dubai Economic Department, License number 820214.
Filpera is a brand name of Filpera Ventures FZE, licensed in the Fujairah Creative City, United Arab Emirates, License number 12975/2018.
© 2018 Filpera. All rights reserved.