SEC exemption from bank secrecy law crucial to PHL joining ASEAN Exchange

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, Oct. 6 (PNA) — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is pushing for its exemption from the bank secrecy law to ensure that companies comply with laws governing securities, as the local stocks exchange seeks link up with Southeast Asian bourses early next year.

“The Philippines is actively participating, collaborating in the efforts towards the ASEAN integration but it has to hurdle that one big requirement of the bank secrecy law being lifted or at least SEC being exempted,” said SEC Chairman Teresita Herbosa in an interview on the sidelines of ASEAN capital markets and investment summit.

Herbosa said the Senate and Congress can approve the amendments to the law which protects the privacy of bank accounts.

“The other countries in the ASEAN region will not allow us to sign off unless we are able to exchange information… We wouldn’t be able to share such information with foreign counterparts, we are also in the midst of investigation of securities law violations,” she said.

Given the country’s existing laws, the SEC chair stressed that the Philippines is asking ASEAN neighbors to relax such requirement so it can join the regional trading link.

“That’s our plan to just work within the confines of the noted exemption to pass the secrecy law. But the other jurisdictions want a more direct authority for the SEC to really access (the bank account records),” she said.

“Even countries abroad realized that you must be able to go after the money trail as well as market manipulation, activities in the market,” she added. (PNA)