By James A. Loyola
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the Philippine Stock Exchange’s offsite trading protocols that will be adopted while Luzon remains under enhanced community quarantine to contain COVID-19.
Amid the enhanced community quarantine imposed over the whole of Luzon, the SEC convened an en banc meeting through a video conference on March 18 to ensure the necessary measures for the resumption of capital market operations are in place and other concerns of its stakeholders are addressed.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on March 17 allowed the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and the Philippine Dealing System (PDS) Group to resume their operations, as recommended by the Commission to the Department of Finance.
“The continued operation of the capital market ensures that both the government and business sector, particularly small and medium enterprises, have continued access to capital or financing,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.
He noted that, “Access to capital or financing is necessary for the government and businesses to support critical operations such as healthcare provision and food production, especially during this period of public health emergency.”
The PSE will perform start-of-day activities remotely using a virtual private network (VPN). It will continue to operate using the systems and servers in its primary site.
All trading services will be available and trading participants will be able to place orders and connect to the trading system provided they have an alternative site outside the PSE Tower where trading, back office, clearing and settlement functions can be performed, among others.
To facilitate clearing and settlement, a skeletal workforce at the Securities Clearing Corporation of the Philippines (SCCP) will communicate with clearing members, settlement banks, and Philippine Depository & Trust Corp. through email and phone.
Submission of listing applications and correspondences with listed companies will be done through email. Listed companies, meanwhile, can continue submitting disclosures through the PSE EDGE, which can be accessed remotely using VPN.