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SEC looking to implement hike in fees, charges this year

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hopes its planned hike in fees and charges can be finalized and implemented within the year, its top official said.

“Preferably, at least within the year,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino told reporters on the sidelines of an event last week when asked when they plan to implement the higher fees and charges.

“We promise to listen to their (business groups’) side…,” he added.

Mr. Aquino said no changes have been made to the commission’s proposed increases.

“It’s being sorted out. As we are talking, the proposal is still as is. But we are open to a possible review and all. But nothing has been done yet,” he said.

In August 2023, the SEC issued its proposed schedule of new fees and charges for stakeholders’ comments.

The regulator has said its rates have not been changed since 2017. The proposed hike will help develop its services to “benefit the transacting public,” it said.

However, various business groups led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) have expressed opposition to the proposal, describing it as “obscene” and “unconscionable.” They urged the SEC to review, “if not totally scrap,” the plan, which they called “anti-business.”

Among others, they opposed the SEC’s proposal to charge corporate issuers one-fourth of 1% of total indebtedness when creating bonded indebtedness.

Philexport President Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis, Jr. on Monday said their stance remains the same, adding that business groups will soon meet with the SEC on the matter.

“We want to review it, do the impact assessment with ARTA (Anti-Red Tape Authority), and then that’s the time that we decide on the matter,” Mr. Ortiz-Luis said in a text message.

AMNESTY PROGRAMMeanwhile, Mr. Aquino said about 85,000 corporations availed of the SEC’s amnesty program, which ended on Dec. 31.

“There are still a number of noncompliant companies. But then again, it is quite an improvement compared to our neighbors, and 85,000 is quite a lot,” he said.

The SEC’s amnesty program launched in March 2023 allows noncompliant and suspended or revoked corporations to pay a reduced penalty for the late or non-filing of their general information sheets (GIS), annual financial statement, and official contact details as provided under Memorandum Circular No. 28 series of 2020.

In October, the SEC issued two lists covering more than 320,000 ordinary corporations that were urged to avail of the amnesty program after failing to submit their GIS within five years from the date of incorporation or failure to submit their GIS for three times consecutively or intermittently within five years. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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