SEC waives fines for missed, late corporate reports

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will not be fining companies that were not able to comply with deadlines to file regulatory requirements during the lockdown.

The corporate regulator issued Memorandum Circular No. 31 on Nov. 5, which was uploaded on its website Monday, to waive supposed penalties for violations incurred in the past months.

These include the late and non-filing of General Information Sheets, Audited Financial Statements and other reportorial requirements that the SEC asks from regulated firms.

The non-imposition of fines will apply for violations falling between Sept. 14 and Dec 19. Otherwise, the SEC will continue to implement corresponding fines and penalties.

The regulator said the circular is in line with Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, also called Bayanihan II, which was signed into law on Sept. 11.

The law provides that the SEC and other regulatory agencies should “desist from imposing fines and other monetary penalties for non-filing, late filing, failure to comply with compulsory notification and other reportorial requirements relating to business activities and transactions… during the community quarantine.”

The SEC noted the relaxation of rules will also cover all foreign corporations except on matters relating to securities deposits and change of resident agent.

The circular takes effect immediately.

Prior to the signing of Bayanihan II, the Philippine government enacted Republic Act No. 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act in March, which similarly sought to offer relief for SEC-regulated entities.

Accordingly, the SEC issued memorandum circulars that extended submission deadlines for reportorial requirements, on top of requiring grace periods for loans due during the strict lockdown.

Parts of the Philippines, including Metro Manila, remain under community quarantine due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus disease 2019. As of Monday, a total of 398,449 infections have been recorded by the Health department from the start of the outbreak. — Denise A. Valdez

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