The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is working closely together with the Office of the Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs (OSAPIEA) to advance various reforms to encourage capital raising and investing in the capital markets, and improvements on ease of doing business.
In a meeting on January 24, SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino presented the priority plans, activities, and programs of the Commission to the Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs, Secretary Frederick D. Go.
Secretary Go lauded the SEC for its digital transformation initiatives aligned with the Marcos Administration’s thrust for digital economy and e-governance, as well as for the capital market reforms it rolled out to boost the capital markets.
“We are united in achieving President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s vision of a digital economy, powered by a strong and robust business sector that can uplift the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” Mr. Aquino said.
“Together with Secretary Go and the administration’s economic team, the SEC will work hard to meaningfully contribute to the country’s progress by developing the capital market, improving the ease of doing business, fostering sustainability, and protecting the investing public,” he added.
In 2023, the SEC streamlined the application process for public offerings by clarifying the number of years of financial information required, through the issuance of SEC Memorandum Circular No. 13, Series of 2023, and strictly implemented a 45-day processing period for public offering applications.
The SEC also shortened the settling of trades to two days from three days, as provided under Memorandum Circular No. 11, Series of 2023. This allows investors to receive proceeds from securities trades within two days, while reducing risk exposure for trading participants by one day.
Short selling was likewise operationalized last year by the Philippine Stock Exchange, based on guidelines approved by the SEC, giving investors more ways to manage risks and carry out trading strategies in the stock market.
The SEC further launched a simplified application procedure for agribusinesses, in line with the president’s focus on agriculture, through SEC FARMS, or Securing and Expanding Capital for Farms & Agribusiness Related Modernization Schemes. President Marcos, Jr. himself witnessed the launch of the initiative during the 86th Anniversary Celebration of the SEC as Company Registrar in June.
Recently, the SEC approved the application of the PSE for exemptive relief in its acquisition of additional shares in the Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corporation (PDS Group). This will allow the PSE to exceed the mandatory limit of 20% on ownership and voting rights in an exchange to acquire full ownership of the PDS Group, which is expected to create synergies and efficiencies in favor of capital market participants
The SEC also promoted crowdfunding for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through a nationwide roadshow. As of the end of last year, 333 MSMEs have raised at total of P1.94 billion in capital for 1,143 projects.
In parallel, the SEC has made starting and doing business in the Philippines easier primarily through the digital transformation of its core services.
The Commission’s digital services currently include the Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Company (eSPARC) and its subsystem, One-day Submission and E-registration of Companies (OneSEC); the Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (eFAST) and the Electronic System for Payments to the SEC (eSPAYSEC).
To further streamline its processes and make its services more accessible, the SEC launched five advanced online systems in 2023, namely the Electronic SEC Universal Registration Environment (eSECURE), SEC CheckApp 2.0, Electronic SEC Education, Analysis, Research Computing Hub (eSEARCH), SEC API Marketplace, and the Electronic Registration Application for Market Participants (eRAMP).