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Business

BSP tightens regulations on big, family-run banks

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has tightened the rules on related party transactions by ensuring arm’s length principle is being followed in conglomerate and family-owned banks.

The central bank approved the new guidelines strengthening the oversight and control standards for managing related party transactions in recognition of the unique landscape of the Philippine financial industry largely composed of conglomerate or family-owned banks.

Under the new rules, higher degree of standards should be applied on transactions between and among the entities within the same group to protect the interest of all stakeholders.

The central bank said related party transactions are generally allowed for as long as these are done on an arm’s length basis.

“In this regard, related party transactions should be conducted in the regular course of business and not undertaken on more favorable economic terms than similar transactions with non-related parties under similar circumstances,” the BSP said.     

The new guidelines provide the board of directors should have the overall responsibility in ensuring that transactions with related parties are handled in a sound and prudent manner, with integrity and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The bank regulator added the board is expected to approve an overarching policy on the handling of related party transactions that should cover the scope of its related party transaction policy, guidelines in ensuring arm’s length terms, management of conflicts of interest, materiality thresholds and limits, whistle blowing mechanisms, and restitution of losses and other remedies for irregular related party transactions.

The new rules require conglomerate-owned banks to create a related party transaction committee composed of independent directors and non-executive directors, with independent directors comprising majority of the members.

“The said committee shall be responsible for the continuing identification and review of existing relations between and among businesses and counterparties, and for ensuring that related party transactions are processed in the regular course of business, and are priced fairly,” the BSP added.

In addition, the central bank said expectations from the compliance and internal audit functions were set out to strengthen the checks and balances system.

It added the guidelines also endeavor to substantially improve the disclosure and regulatory reporting requirements on related party transactions.

“It is now explicitly required that the annual reports adequately disclose relevant information on the governance of related party transactions and specific details of exposures to related parties,” it said.

The BSP said the new guidelines would apply to all banks including their non-bank financial subsidiaries and affiliates but stand-alone non-bank financial institutions are initially excluded.

The BSP explained the new guidelines were patterned after the principles set out in the Basel Core Principles (BCP) for Effective Banking Supervision issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) as well as the Guide in Fighting Abusive Related Party Transactions in Asia issued by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

ACIRC

BANGKO SENTRAL

BANKING SUPERVISION

BASEL COMMITTEE

BASEL CORE PRINCIPLES

ECONOMIC CO

EFFECTIVE BANKING SUPERVISION

FIGHTING ABUSIVE RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

PARTY

RELATED

TRANSACTIONS

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