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SEC rejects PSE plea on P1-M fine over Suarez appointment

MANILA, Philippines - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has thumbed down the Philippine Stock Exchange’s request for a waiver or reduction of the over P1-million penalty imposed by the corporate watchdog due to a violation of the securities law.

The fine stemmed from the previous appointment of lawyer Val Suarez as PSE president and chief executive officer.

According to the SEC, Suarez’s appointment was in violation of the Securities Regulation Code which states that the “president and other management of the exchange to consist only of persons who are not members and are not associated in any capacity, directly or indirectly, with any broker or dealer or member of a listed company of the exchange.”

Suarez is married to JP Morgan Securities Philippines president Milagros Cecilia Dollendo.

Aside from the basic fine of P1 million, the PSE was charged an additional fine of P1,000 for every day of delay, said SEC commissioner Juanita Cueto.

SEC spokesperson Gerard Lukban said the reckoning date would start in December when the SEC formally informed the local bourse it was in violation of the SRC and not from the time Suarez was appointed, which was August last year.

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Suarez resigned in December to avoid a potentially embarrassing showdown with the SEC that could aggravate market volatility.

Former PSE chairman Hans Sicat last week assumed the presidency of the exchange and vowed to work and cooperate with the SEC, its regulator.

Aside from his marriage to a broker, Suarez was found to be a part owner of Five Carats Property Holdings Inc., which holds a trading right.

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