SEC Renews Commitment to Defending Corporate Sector and Capital Market Development

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made significant efforts to foster continued capital market growth, as I mentioned in my previous article on January 26, 2022. I want to emphasize that my expectations include the growth of our capital markets, which I hope can reach better levels with more IPOs, including those of real estate investment trusts (REITs).

The SEC remains fully at the forefront of advancing reforms and programs that will enable the growth of the capital market and broader corporate sector as the country moves forward under the new leadership of Chairman Ferdinand “Bongbong.” Marcos Jr.

Under the former administration, the SEC achieved significant milestones that helped the corporate sector survive and rebound from the effects of the pandemic.

The commission approved a record 687.40 billion pesos in capital increases in 2021, proof that businesses have continued to grow and generate more jobs for Filipinos. Companies also continued to turn to capital markets for their financing needs. The amount of capital raised in 2021 more than doubled to 234.48 billion pesos from 103.76 billion pesos the previous year. Investments in mutual funds have also increased steadily, reaching 444.08 billion pesos in 2021 from 294.7 billion pesos in 2017.

When it comes to business registrations, the numbers have remained constant, averaging around 34,000 per year from 2016 to 2021. And, of course, the SEC has successfully implemented its digital transformation initiatives, that have allowed companies to transact with the SEC from the comfort of their homes or offices.

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The SEC’s digital transformation includes the launch of Simplified Electronic Processing of Company Registration Applications and its subsystem, One-Day Submission and Electronic Company Registration; Electronic filing and submission tool; and the SEC Electronic Payments System (eSPAYSEC).

To better serve the public, the commission has aggressively issued cease and desist orders against unauthorized investments to weed out fraudsters and perpetrators of investment scams.

Apart from this, he was able to institute key reforms that enabled the further development of the business sector even before the pandemic.

Republic Act (RA) 11232 or the “Revised Companies Code”, which came into force on February 20, 2019, aims to improve the ease of doing business in the country, provide stronger protection for companies and shareholders and to promote corporate governance.

Another reform was the issuance of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9856 or the “REITs Act 2009”. The new regulations have resolved tax and other issues that previously discouraged companies from issuing REITs, allowing interested entities to finally bring this financial product to market.

“We recognize our vital role in the nation’s economic growth and recovery, as regulator of county businesses, overseer of capital markets, and protector of the investing public,” SEC Chairman Emilio Aquino said.

“As such, the commission renews its commitment to championing capital market development to support business recovery and growth, as well as regulatory reforms aimed at improving the ease of doing business in the country and the global competitiveness of economy,” he said. added.

All of these efforts have not gone unnoticed. In a message to the SEC before the end of his term, former Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez 3rd noted how the commission “has met the challenges of this era with flying colors.”

Dominguez added: “I congratulate the men and women of the SEC, led by President Emilio Aquino, for the courage, commitment and spirit of innovation you have shown throughout the emergency of public health. You have supported your regulatory role and inspired confidence in our marketplace. The commission is playing an important role in our country’s strong recovery.”

With the reappointment of Secretary of Finance Benjamin Diokno, we are confident that the SEC can continue to work together and deepen our partnership to further advance the country economically.

On a separate note, the SEC’s online payment system has been made more convenient as it continues to add new payment options. The public transacting can now use their GCash wallet to pay registration and other transaction fees, as well as penalties, via eSPAYSEC. Customers can access eSPAYSEC through the commission’s website at https://espaysec.sec.gov.ph/payment-portal/home.

Kelvin Lester K. Lee is Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The views and opinions expressed herein are his own. You can send your comments and questions to [email protected]

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