SEC joins clampdown vs UK finance firm
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued a stern warning to investors against Financial.Org, a UK company which claims to manage hundreds of thousands of dollars for Asian investors.

The SEC joins some of its fellow regulators in the region, including the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Securities Commission Malaysia in issuing advisories against Financial.Org.

“This advisory is prompted by information received by the commission that individuals or group of persons representing a company named Financial.Org are soliciting investments from the investing public,” the SEC said.

It noted that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has placed Financial.Org in its list of unregulated persons which may have been wrongly perceived as being licensed or authorized by MAS.

“Similarly, in its website, the Securities Commission Malaysia included Financial.Org in the list of those that are not authorized, nor approved under the securities laws to deal in securities, trade in futures contract, advise on corporate finance, provide investment advice, financial planning and fund management services related to securities or futures,” the SEC said in its advisory.

SEC said Financial.Org is not registered with the agency as a corporation or partnership and is not authorized to solicit investments because it does not have a license to do so as prescribed under Section 8 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC).

It will sanction anybody who will sell securities on behalf of Financial.Org.

“The commission reiterates its warning that those who act as salesmen, brokers, dealers, or agents of entities without authority to solicit investments, in selling or convincing people to invest in the investment scheme being offered by said entities, including solicitations or recruitment through various forms of media such as but not limited to the internet such as social media may be prosecuted and held criminally liable under Section 28 of the SRC and penalized with a maximum fine of five million pesos or imprisonment of 21 years or both pursuant to Section 73 of the SRC,” the SEC said.

In addition, the names of all those involved will be reported to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) so the appropriate penalties and taxes will  be correspondingly assessed, it added.

The SEC has been stepping up efforts against companies soliciting investments from the public without prior registration. It has widened its campaign to include entities soliciting investments online especially in social media such as Facebook.

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