MSBs given more time to renew permits

Posted on August 10, 2017

THE Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has extended by five months the validity of existing registration permits held by money changers and remittance agents, giving them more time to comply with tighter requirements set by the regulator.

The central bank gave a five-month extension to money service businesses’ existing registration permits. -- BW FILE PHOTO
In a statement issued late Wednesday, the Monetary Board said existing certificates of registration (CORs) held by money service businesses (MSBs) will remain valid until Jan. 31, 2018, according the non-bank financial firms with “more time to gather complete and updated documentary requirements for their registration with the BSP.”

Prior to yesterday’s decision, existing permits would have been cancelled effective today in line with tighter standards imposed on the money changers, remittance agents, and foreign exchange dealers under BSP Circular 942 issued on Jan. 20.

The new rules require all MSBs, including international remittance service networks and their sub-agents or partner firms, to be registered with the BSP as they operate in the Philippines. These cash agents are subject to additional documentary requirements, as well as streamlined internal protocols which brought the standards closer to integrity checks imposed on banks.

“After 31 January 2018, all previously-issued Bangko Sentral CORs shall be considered automatically cancelled,” the BSP statement read.

BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. has said that he is looking to ease rules on foreign exchange to recapture transactions towards banks and away from the “unregulated” parallel markets. He has also proposed for the inclusion of MSBs as entities under the central bank’s watch, which they are calling for inclusion under the BSP’s 20-year-old charter.

On Tuesday, the BSP released guidelines requiring these firms to implement dual control systems and specific record-keeping standards “to prevent the likelihood of mismanagement or fraud.” The changes come a year after a remittance company was found to have played a role in the cleansing of $81 million funds stolen from the Bangladesh central bank which was coursed to a Philippine bank and local gaming tables. -- Melissa Luz T. Lopez