SEC to share data with more government agencies

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
SEC to share data with more government agencies
The SEC yesterday signed nine data sharing agreements (DSAs) with various agencies, granting them access to beneficial ownership information of corporations registered with the commission.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is teaming up with more government agencies to boost efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.

The SEC yesterday signed nine data sharing agreements (DSAs) with various agencies, granting them access to beneficial ownership information of corporations registered with the commission.

The agreements were signed with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Insurance Commission, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, Department of Agriculture, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

According to the SEC, the partnerships will equip these government agencies with data that may help them uncover illegal activities carried out through the corporate vehicle.

“In this era where data is gold and financial fraud, including cyber fraud, loom large - collaboration between the SEC and law enforcement is not just beneficial, it’s imperative,” SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said.

“First and foremost, sharing corporate data with law enforcement is a powerful tool in combating crime. By providing law enforcement agencies access to pertinent data, we empower them to investigate and apprehend these perpetrators swiftly and effectively,” he said.

The SEC has signed a total of 18 DSAs with several government agencies since 2022.

These also include the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Trade and Industry- Strategic Trade Management Office, National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the Government Procurement Policy Board, Philippine National Police, as well as the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

“Whether it’s illegal drugs, transnational crime, money laundering, financial fraud, corruption, tax evasion or smuggling - timely access to corporate data can make all the difference in bringing criminals to justice,” Aquino said.

“Sharing corporate data fosters a culture of accountability and transparency within our corporations…It sends a clear message that the Philippines is not a haven for illicit corporate activities, thereby bolstering trust in the integrity of our business sector,” he said.

The SEC said beneficial owners of a corporation are distinguished from legal owners, which are defined as natural or juridical persons who, in accordance with the law, owns or has the controlling ownership interest over the corporation, or has the ability of taking relevant decisions within the corporation and impose those resolutions.

Sharing beneficial ownership data is also in line with the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog that sets international standards to prevent such illegal activities, it said.

Last Feb. 23, the Paris-based global dirty money watchdog retained the Philippines in the gray list or jurisdictions under increased monitoring after it failed to address the remaining gaps in its anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism regime.

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