SEC expands digitalization toward inclusive economy

I AM reproducing below edited excerpts of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s video message during the recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) virtual flag-raising event held last July 18, 2022. His keynote touched on urging the SEC to continue expanding the country’s capital market through digitalization to support economic growth.

“My marching order to you now is to make the Philippine capital market more broad-based and inclusive through digitalization and strengthened corporate governance,” Diokno said.

He commended the SEC’s digital transformation initiatives, which the securities regulator accelerated at the height of the global health emergency. This allowed the market to continue functioning normally amid the difficulties posed by the pandemic.

The SEC, for instance, developed the Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Companies (eSPARC) and the One Day Submission and Electronic Registration of Companies (OneSEC), which are systems for faster and easier registration of corporations.

The eSPARC processed a total of 77,476 applications for company registration, 7,095 of which were processed in OneSEC, from its launch on April 11, 2021 to June 19, 2022.

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There is also the SEC’s Electronic System for Payments to the SEC (eSPAYSEC), which is linked to the eSPARC and OneSEC, that enables online payments of registrations and other transaction fees. The eSPAYSEC catered to a total of 31,027 transactions since its launching on March 1, 2021 up to June 19, 2022.

Meanwhile, the SEC’s Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (eFAST) was built for the submission of audited financial statements, general information sheets, and other reportorial requirements. From the start of its operation on March 15, 2021 up to June 17, 2022, a total of 277,430 reports were accepted through the eFAST.

These platforms are among a suite of online systems that make transacting with the SEC easier and faster.

Diokno likewise ordered the SEC to strengthen the newly established PhiliFintech Innovation Office (PhiliFINNO), launched by the commission on July 30, 2021, to ensure that financial technology (fintech) companies are properly regulated while encouraging their growth. This office will also pave way to foster innovation and customize the fintech landscape in the country.

He expects the SEC to fully harness the powers of new digital technologies to further improve monitoring, build trust and confidence of investors, protect the investing public and better serve the nation.

Accordingly, Diokno urged the agency to ensure the provision of safe and secure financial and investment instruments for Filipinos. He ordered the SEC to be relentless in unmasking investment scams to protect investors and maintain trust in the country’s financial system.

“In the coming period, we expect an even more dynamic and feverish market activity. I trust that the commission will be relentless in its efforts to ensure that capital markets drive our strong economic recovery and build a truly inclusive financial system for the Filipino people,” the Finance chief said.

On a separate note, the SEC is inviting the compliance officers/associated persons of SEC-covered persons to a free webinar on anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism, on a first-come, first-served basis, that will be held on July 29, 2022 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. via Zoom. To know more, clients may access the webinar notice through the SEC website at https://www.sec.gov.ph/notices/webinar-on-anti-money-laundering-combating-the-financing-of-terrorism-aml-cft-for-sec-covered-persons/.

Kelvin Lester K. Lee is a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The views and opinions stated herein are his own. You may email your comments and questions to [email protected]