SEC defends move to raise fees, to meet business groups


THE Securities and Exchange Commission has defended its move to increase its fees and charges, saying it made a thorough and careful study of the hike.

The SEC, however, has set a roundtable discussion with the groups today (October 12), which include the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other Filipino-Chinese business organizations opposing the increase.

The updated scale of fines and penalties for reportorial requirements would have been implemented on November 7, where basic penalties for the late and non-filing of reports are set to increase by as high as 1,900 percent.

“The commission is committed to hearing all comments and suggestions from its stakeholders before issuing the new and final schedule of fees for its services. In the same manner, the commission has always been committed to transparent and accurate data in the interest of fairness to all concerned,” the SEC said in a statement.

The SEC said that the current fees and charges was last updated in 2017, based on a proposal from 2014. This means that the current rates are based on operational and administrative costs prevailing almost 10 years ago.

The agency said it increased the fees as it launched digital systems, such as the SEC Application Program Interface and the Electronic SEC Education, Analysis, Research Computing Hub (eSEARCH).

“In fixing the fees and charges applicable to IT-related services, the SEC ensured that the rates would be sufficient to recover the cost of services rendered. The commission considered the direct costs of rendering the service; the inflation from the year of imposition or last revision of the fees; and the value of the manpower resources used, the technology adopted, and the equipment required in rendering the services,” it said.

It said the increase in fees and charges also account for historical and projected volumes of transactions and data requests to ensure that the collections of the agency will be sufficient to recover the increasing operating and maintenance costs of the digital services in the coming years.

The fees and charges imposed by the SEC were also benchmarked with those imposed on similar services in the Philippines and in other jurisdictions. For instance, Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority charges P3,029.70 for the download of financial statements and Corporate Compliance and Financial Profile. This is equivalent to the company snapshot package, consisting of the General Information Sheet, Annual Financial Statements, and company snapshot, worth P1,000 that may be downloaded from eSEARCH.

Under the proposed rates, domestic stock corporations with retained earnings of not more than P100,000 will incur a basic penalty of P5,000 for the late filing of their general information sheet or annual financial statement, plus P1,000 for every month of continuing violation. This represents a 900-percent increase from the current rate of P500.

The same penalty applies to domestic non-stock corporations with a fund balance or equity of not more than P100,000, a 19-fold jump from the current penalty of P250.

Meanwhile, non-filing of GIS or AFS by domestic stock corporations and non-stock corporations with retained earnings and fund balance/equity, respectively, of not more than P100,000 will be slapped with a basic penalty of P10,000, plus P1,000 per month of continuing violation.

The penalty for non-compliance with MC 28 will be set at P20,000, double the current rate of P10,000.

Aside from the PCCI, other groups who opposed the increase include the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Management Association of the Philippines, Chamber of Thrift Banks, Philippine Retailers Association, Philippine Franchise Association, Philippine Association of Legitimate Service Contractors, Stratbase ADR Institute for Strategic and International Studies and Philippine Food Processors and Exporters Organization Inc.