SEC welcomes new Financial Consumers Protection Law
By JAMES A. LOYOLA
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) welcomed the enactment of Republic Act No. 11765, or the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act (FCPA), as it reinforces the agency’s mandate of protecting the investing public.
The FCPA seeks to ensure that mechanisms in line with global best practices are in place to protect consumers of financial products and services.
“Protecting the investing public is at the heart of what the SEC does. This new measure will provide greater deterrence against fraud, and will serve as another tool for the SEC to hold investment scammers accountable for the harm they perpetuate in society,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.
He added that, “We applaud our legislators and our president, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, for sharing the SEC’s vision of a developed financial sector through a protected and financially literate public.”
The FCPA allows the Commission to impose administrative sanctions on persons responsible of investment fraud, including a fine of P50,000 up to P10 million on each instance of investment fraud, plus up to P10,000 for each day of continuing violation.
This is on top of the penalties provided under the Securities Regulation Code, which includes a fine of P50,000 up to P5 million, or imprisonment of not less than seven years nor more than 21 years, or both in the discretion of the court.
The measure further reiterates the SEC’s authority to impose enforcement actions on its supervised entities for noncompliance with existing laws under its jurisdiction.
This includes the disqualification and/or suspension of directors, trustees, officers, or employees of a supervised entity, the issuance of cease and desist orders, and the suspension of operation of any supervised financial service provider, among others.
The SEC, as well as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Insurance Commission, shall have the authority to issue its own standard and rules for the application of the provisions of the new law within its jurisdiction.
The Commission said it continues to combat the spread of investment scams in the country by actively going after perpetrators of unauthorized investment schemes and implementing investor education programs to improve financial literacy.
This year, the SEC has already issued 50 advisories against groups and individuals found to be soliciting investments from the public without the necessary license from the Commission.
It has also issued cease and desist orders against several groups including RGS World Marketing and the Astrazion Group for their fraudulent investment schemes.
Currently, 364 individuals are being actively prosecuted before various Regional Trial Courts charged in 56 cases for violations of the SRC, with the SEC securing 18 judgments of convictions against 20 individuals meted with a total imprisonment of 572 years and a total fine of P25 million imposed by various courts.