The Department of Finance (DOF) lauded the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for making significant strides in improving the ease of doing business in the country through its digital transformation.
In his report to DOF Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino highlighted how the Commission’s digitalization initiatives ensured the continued delivery of services to its clients and stakeholders amid the pandemic.
The innovations introduced by the SEC include the Electronic Filing and Submission Tool (eFAST), Electronic System for Payments to SEC (eSPAYSEC), and Electronic System for Processing and Registration of Companies (eSPARC), which allow for zero face-to-face transactions.
“I don’t know in the past, but I don’t think this has ever happened in SEC’s history that you have achieved so much in the ease of doing business, so, congratulations,” Mr. Dominguez said.
“SEC has also contributed in a big way to improving the capital markets, and of course in catching fraudulent transactions,” Mr. Dominguez added.
The eFAST, formerly known as the Online Submission Tool, is a web-based document management system that allows corporations to submit their annual financial statements, general information sheet, and other reportorial requirements in digital format.
Since its launch in March 2021, eFAST has processed 169,323 enrollments and accepted 185,127 electronic reports, as of January 26.
Meanwhile, the SEC has facilitated the efficient collection of fees and penalties through the eSPAYSEC, which allows the online payment of fees, penalties, and other transaction fees using debit and credit cards, digital wallets, and other cashless payment options.
From March 2021 to January 2022, the Commission managed to collect P119.07 million in fees and penalties, or about P11.9 million per month, from a total of 16,898 transactions made through eSPAYSEC.
Meanwhile, to streamline the registration of businesses, the SEC launched eSPARC, which allows applicants or their duly appointed representatives to submit the proposed company name, input company information, and upload documentary requirements for review of the Commission.
eSPARC also includes a facility called One-day Submission and Express Registration of Companies (OneSEC), which allows applicants to complete their company registration within a day.
The SEC has approved 48,266 applications through eSPARC from April 11, 2021 to January 26, 2022. In addition, 3,288 new corporations have registered through OneSEC from its launch on September 15, 2021 to January 26, 2022.
The Commission also launched the SEC Check App, its official mobile app that provides the public with the latest investor alerts, notices, and other updates relevant to corporations, partnerships, investors, and other stakeholders.
“We thank Secretary Dominguez for his steadfast leadership and unwavering support for our programs,” Mr. Aquino said. “Our achievements would not be possible if not for the clear vision you have set for the corporate sector and its role in the country’s economy.”
“The SEC will continue implementing customer-centered reforms and innovations across its services in line with its commitment to champion the ease of doing business, the development of the capital market, and the protection of investors and other financial consumers,” Mr. Aquino said.
Among the projects lined up this year is the creation of the Anti-Scam Task iGroup (ASTiG) Network, composed of local government units, which will help the Commission better monitor investment-taking activities and stop fraudulent schemes at the community-level.
In parallel, the SEC is working on the establishment of the Office for the Advancement of Strategic Investments in SMEs (OASIS). Through the office, the Commission aims to guide small and medium enterprises toward the capital markets for their financing needs. This is in line with the Commission’s goal to have 888 companies listed in the capital market in time for its 88th anniversary in 2024.