The work of the Securities and Exchange Commission, led by Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee, to grow Financial Technology (Fintech) in the Philippines has brought pride to the Philippines after Atty Lee was recognized as the top winner in the category of "Thought Leader of the Year" by the Asia Pacific Stevies Award.
In winning the Gold Prize, Commissioner Lee's exceptional contributions to the field of Fintech have garnered recognition from the international community and cemented his position as a leading authority in the Asia-Pacific region, triumphing over other winners from the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, and India.
Apart from the Gold Prize, Commissioner Lee also won the coveted Grand Stevie Award for the Philippines, a recognition presented to the highest-scoring nomination from each of the four nations that submitted the most nominations to the competition, after getting an impressive score of 8.83/10 from international jurors.
As an incumbent Commissioner of the SEC, Lee has been instrumental in spearheading groundbreaking initiatives within the realm of Fintech. His noteworthy accomplishments include his involvement in the pioneer cohort of the University of Cambridge's Fintech and Regulatory Innovation Programme, which significantly influenced his drive for a meticulous and balanced policy approach to Fintech regulation.
In recognition of his vision and advocacy, Commissioner Lee played a pivotal role in the establishment of the SEC's PhiliFintech Innovation Office (PhiliFINNO) in 2021. This office, working under guidance, focuses on fintech regulation and policy recommendations, positioning the Philippines as a frontrunner in embracing technological advancements while prioritizing investor protection.
To maintain a healthy marriage between encouraging innovation and ensuring investor safety, Lee has also crafted the SEC's "delicate balancing act" policy. This policy enables the SEC to foster an environment conducive to Fintech growth while upholding its responsibility as a financial regulator to safeguard the interests of investors.
The Commissioner's influence extends beyond national boundaries, as he is frequently invited to speak at Senate hearings, sit on panels, and deliver keynote speeches on Fintech policy. His expertise and insights on Fintech, Fintech policy, and Fintech regulation are sought after both in the Philippines and internationally.
Noteworthy platforms where he has shared his knowledge include events organized by the University of Cambridge, the Asian Institute of Management, the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc., the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Cambodia, the Fintech Alliance, and the World Economic Forum, among others.
Lee's dedication to advancing Fintech has taken him to Hong Kong, Singapore, London, and Cambridge, where he has shared his expertise and contributed to shaping the global Fintech landscape.
In December 2022, the SEC official’s Fintech policy work and thought leadership led to him being honored as one of the Philippine Blockchain Champions by the Blockchain Council of the Philippines. This recognition acknowledges his invaluable contributions in driving the adoption of blockchain and Web3 technologies in the Philippines, positioning the country as a prominent blockchain hub in Asia.
In January 2023, Lee also solidified a partnership with the University of the Philippines Law Center through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), paving the way for joint research and capacity-building projects focused on digital assets, blockchain, non-fungible tokens, and decentralized finance.
As a regulator, Commissioner Lee remains guided by the SEC's overarching approach to Fintech, striking a delicate balance between regulatory objectives, such as investor protection, and fostering an environment that embraces the innovative potential of Fintech.
His leadership has resulted in the adoption of enabling policies that encourage innovation while proactively mitigating excessive risk buildup, thereby ensuring market integrity and investor safeguarding. Lee's pursuit for innovation within the Fintech sector has solidified his position as a trusted and influential figure.
According to the Stevies jurors, Commissioner Lee’s accomplishments stand as a testament to his dedication, expertise, and unwavering commitment to advancing Fintech and promoting a secure and investor-friendly environment.
The Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards received over 800 nominations this year, reflecting the remarkable innovative achievements taking place across the 29-nation region.
The winners will be celebrated during a virtual ceremony on June 27, providing an opportunity to recognize and honor the outstanding individuals and organizations shaping the business landscape in the Asia-Pacific region.