Due to the need to go digital amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), pursuant to its authority under Republic Acts 11232 and 8799, or the Revised Corporation Code and Securities Regulation Code, respectively, will soon issue a memorandum circular on the guidelines for the filing of audited financial statements (AFS) and general information sheets (GIS), among others, with its soon-to-be-introduced online submission tool (OST).
The tool’s purpose is to make the online filing of AFS, GIS and other documents easy to do and orderly in compliance with applicable laws, sustainable practices and health protocols, as well as to minimize physical copies and the need for people to transact personally at the SEC’s premises. It would, in effect, minimize the risk of Covid-19 exposure.
Besides making online filing easy, the OST also requires an enrollment process to ensure the security of the documents being filed by the corporation and its authorized filer. The system also allows easy access to the reports filed online using the Online Public Search facility, which will be provided for free for the first three months, with the SEC shouldering the cost for public printing and viewing.
As a quick introduction, the submission of all AFS and GIS to the commission shall be done using the OST. The enrollment process for all registered corporations or partnerships will start around March for the provision of access to submit online. This will be handled initially by the SEC’s Information and Communications Technology Department.
Note that for the submission of reports using the OST, enrollment is mandatory. After enrollment, all corporations or partnerships registered with the SEC will be required to submit their AFS and GIS online. Also, for the OST’s pilot run, only these documents will be accepted in the system: AFS (duly stamped “received” by the Bureau of Internal Revenue [BIR] or proof of its filing with the BIR should be attached to the statement, duly signed by the auditor and other required signatories and compliant with all AFS requirements, as stated on the checklist on the SEC website); Sworn Statement for Foundation; General Form for Financial Statement; Special Form for Financial Statement; GIS; Affidavit of Non-Operation; and Affidavit of Non-Holding of Annual Meeting.
The commission will set deadlines for the enrollment, which will be before corporations or partnerships submit their reports, as well as their AFS and GIS.
The circular on the OST will come out very soon and be posted on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.ph. I encourage everyone to visit it for updates.
With this streamlined approach to regulatory compliance to be done largely, if not entirely, online, the SEC hopes to ease the business operations of entities and individuals. It would make the transmission and receipt of all their official documents, such as reports, notices and documents required by the SEC, much easier and more convenient.
We look forward to the cooperation of the general public as the commission embarks on this program.
Kelvin Lester K. Lee is a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The views and opinions here are his own. You may email your comments and questions to email@example.com.