Foreign firms with online services in Philippines must register with SEC

By September 15, 2021Property News

By Iris Gonzales – The Philippine Star
September 14, 2021 | 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines — Foreign corporations whose services are available in the Philippines through online channels must register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This includes every foreign company, especially those selling foreign currency, cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

They make their products and services available to the country through their social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, the SEC said in an advisory.

Thus, the SEC urged the public to be careful when dealing or transacting with corporations or entities that are not licensed or registered in the Philippines.

The SEC has received numerous inquiries regarding the implications of transacting with non-registered foreign corporations and entities whose products or services are reachable in the Philippines through their website or online apps and platforms.

By law, an entity is required to register and obtain a primary registration with the SEC if they intend to conduct business in the Philippines.

However, the SEC said a number of unregistered corporations and entities allow Filipinos to access their online platforms and permit the enrollment, creation or registration of client accounts through online means despite having no registration or license to do business in the Philippines.

Such unregistered online platforms include, but are not limited to foreign currency brokers, digital asset exchanges, multi-asset companies, websites for securities token offerings, binary options trading apps, and play-to-earn gaming platforms, the SEC said.

“The public is reminded to be vigilant and to do their due diligence prior to transacting and dealing with any entity. The public is also advised to avoid transacting with corporations or entities without any registration or license to do business in the Philippines in order to avoid losing their earnings,” the SEC said.

If an entity or an activity is unlicensed or unregistered and is based abroad, Filipino investors may not get their investment back, the corporate regulator said.

“If you put your earnings in a platform which is reachable in the Philippines, but is operated by non-registered corporations or entities, the government can offer very limited protection or, in some cases, no protection from any harm, damage, fraud or any form of misconduct which may be caused or committed by these corporations or entities,” it noted.