Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr seeks SEC help to promote Philippines as ‘investment destination’

2023 June 22

SAFE INVESTMENT HUB. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivers a keynote speech during the 85th anniversary celebration of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at its headquarters in Makati City on Thursday (June 22, 2023). The President urged the SEC to help his administration promote the Philippines as a safe and protective investment destination.

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MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to help his administration promote the Philippines as a “safe and proactive” investment hub.

Marcos made the call, as he joined the SEC’s 85th anniversary celebration at its headquarters in Makati City.

In a keynote speech, Marcos vouched for SEC’s competence, saying it has become “a reliable regulator of corporate and capital markets and a staunch protector of our people and their investments.”

“I know that I can count on each of you to help promote our country as an investment destination—one that is safe, that is orderly, and proactive; and one that can uphold the rights and welfare of our investors and consumers to their mutual benefits,” he said.

Marcos also called on SEC to help the business sector and transform it as an “agent of social and economic transformation.”

He expressed optimism that more local businesses will reach even greater heights for a “more robust and equitable” economy.

“Throughout the commission’s existence, the SEC has helped create an environment that benefits the business and investment sectors,” Marcos said. “As we are now deep in our efforts to fully transform our economy, it is my hope that your role in our collective growth remains clear so that businesses will not only thrive, but will also become agents of our economic and social transformation.”

Digitalization efforts

Marcos also lauded the SEC personnel for their commitment to improve the services offered by the country’s company registrar.

He called on SEC to continue its digitalization initiatives in pursuit of “sustainable finance and good corporate governance.”

This, as the commission introduced its new digital services, which include the Electronic SEC Universal Registration Environment (eSECURE); the Electronic SEC Education, Analysis, and Research Computing Hub (eSEARCH); SEC API Marketplace, Electronic Registry Application for Market Participants (eRAMP), and the SEC Check App 2.0.

Marcos said the programs will enable SEC to be a “reliable partner” in efforts to digitalize government procedures and services.

“Your openness to achieving digital transformation has likewise been integral to fostering business formation and for growth,” he said, stressing that the innovations pursued by the commission employ a “more modern, more efficient, and more secure approach in managing stakeholders and their data.”

“Through the digital reforms that you have put in place, you have made it easier for corporations to comply with the requirements and maintain a good standing in the business community,” Marcos added.

The SEC acts as the Philippines’ corporate registrar by virtue of Commonwealth Act 287 enacted on June 3, 1938.

It is mandated to perform all functions relative to the registration of corporations and associations.

New digital services

“We are happy to report that in consonance with [the President’s] envisioned digital economy and e-governance program, we will launch a wave of digital initiatives during this momentous occasion,” SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said in his opening remarks.

eSECURE serves as a company’s gateway to SEC online services, including the newly launched applications.

Users can log in to eSECURE and access their accounts without the need to individually log in to each service. It also electronically authenticates the identity of SEC clients, preventing unauthorized access to confidential company information.

eSEARCH and SEC API Marketplace, meanwhile, will allow the public to obtain data from corporate reports submitted to the SEC.

eSEARCH allows them to purchase and download authenticated SEC documents online. Electronic copies of these documents will be in PDF with text layer format, allowing for easier collection and analysis of data.

SEC API Marketplace, on the other hand, allows the direct sending and ingestion of data from one application to another without the need for a user or encoding on the receiving end, and for minimal data transfer in between.

The eRAMP is a dedicated system for capital market professionals and institutions, such as broker dealers and fund managers to manage their licensure with the SEC.

Capital market participants and institutions will be able to process their applications for registration, payment of annual fees, and other notification requirements through eRAMP.

The platform also serves as an online registry of all capital market participants and institutions that are registered with the SEC.

Aside from these initiatives, SEC also introduced upgrades to its mobile application.

SEC CheckApp 2.0 now allows users to check if an investment opportunity is legitimate or not through the CheckwithSEC feature, where the names of all corporations registered with the SEC can be accessed in real time.

Users can also check whether a proposed company name is available through the improved app.

“With its efforts in leveraging digital technology, SEC has now been acknowledged as a digital leader and an ease of doing business champion. It has been hailed as a Sustainability, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and Green Finance Advocate, a Quality and Integrity Model plus so many other recognitions and titles,” Aquino said.

For agriculture, SEC also launched SEC FARMS to secure and expand the capital for farms and agri-business related modernization schemes.

It is expected to streamline the requirements and procedures for agri-based companies registering securities to raise capital for agriculture projects.

According to SEC, applicants can be approved within 28 days from filing with the SEC subject to the guidelines set by the commission.

Agri-based companies can raise up to PHP500 million per project under the program and is envisioned to help overseas Filipino workers.

Careful against fraudulent schemes

Acknowledging the presence of fraudulent individuals who are taking advantage of the new technology, Marcos advised everyone to be “very careful.”

Marcos said the public should discern scams, especially if the offer is “too good to be true.”

“It really comes down to the public. My advice to the public is that when you get the message and there is a deal being presented and it sounds too good to be true, it is [a scam]. There is no such thing as 100 percent risk-free. There is no way to guarantee these enormous returns on what they are claiming, on the money that you give them,” he said.

“So, we just have to be very, very watchful. And we have to be very, very careful and also be aware of the new technologies, of the new ways in which we can prevent these kinds of things,” Marcos added. 

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)