THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday launched digital technology initiatives in line with its program for the capital market and the administration’s move towards e-governance.

“We will launch a wave of digital initiatives… consisting of the e-SEARCH, eSECURE, eRAMP, SEC API Marketplace, and SEC CheckApp 2.0,” SEC Chairman Emilio B. Aquino said during the commission’s 85th anniversary celebration.

He added the commission has now been acknowledged as a “digital leader and an ease of doing business champion” through its efforts in leveraging digital technologies.

Through its Electronic SEC Universal Registration Environment (eSECURE) clients can access SEC online services in a single platform. The platform electronically authenticates the identity of clients, preventing unauthorized access to confidential company information.

“It works against the perpetration of investment scams and money laundering activities, as well as improves financial integrity and readily exacts accountability,” the SEC said.

The commission’s Electronic SEC Education, Analysis, and Research Computing Hub (e-SEARCH) platform will allow the public to purchase and download SEC documents online.

“Investment evaluation and vetting of contracting parties can be commenced in just a couple of minutes,” the regulator said.

Its SEC API Marketplace hastens the availing of financial services and addresses consumer protection concerns by allowing the direct sending and ingestion of data without the need for encoding.

Additionally, its Electronic Registry Application for Market Participants (eRAMP) service will allow investors and capital market institutions to process applications for registration, payment of annual fees, and other notification requirements.

The platform also acts as an online registry of all capital market participants and institutions that are registered with the SEC.

The commission also launched the updated version of its mobile application SEC CheckApp 2.0 where users can confirm the validity of investment opportunities, check the availability of a company name, and provide a 24/7 customer care online assistant.

Meanwhile, the commission launched its Securing and Expanding Capital for Farms and Agribusiness Related Modernization Schemes or SEC Farms program, which can help farm-based companies to fund their agricultural projects by selling securities through simplified registration. The companies may raise up to P500 million per project under the program.

“It is envisioned to help overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who are notoriously targeted by scammers into investing their hard-earned money into fraudulent investment schemes, to avail of sound and legitimate investments available in the market,” the commission earlier said.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Thursday urged the SEC to help the government in making the Philippines an investment hub by promoting ease of doing business and expanding its digitalization efforts.

“I call on the good people that make up the SEC: Let us use all the successes to further promote ease of doing business and to actively contribute to our overall goal of bringing a comfortable life to our people,” he said in a speech for the SEC anniversary.

Mr. Marcos also asked the SEC to expand the digitalization of its services and “further invigorate its advocacy for sustainable finance and good corporate governance.”

“I know that I can count on each of you to help promote our country as an investment destination — one that is safe, that is orderly, and proactive,” he said, “and one that can uphold the rights and welfare of our investors and consumers to their mutual benefits.”

Mr. Marcos said the government will boost its monitoring of digital transactions amid the threats posed by artificial intelligence (AI), which he said is now being used in investment scams.

“We have to continue strengthening our capabilities when it comes to this. This is not a problem that is exclusive to the Philippines alone and that is some of the danger that people are starting to use AI, people are starting to use all the new very powerful tools that are available to be used on the social media or on the internet in general,” he told reporters when asked how the government will address investment scams.

Mr. Marcos admitted that authorities struggle with finding scammers who are not in identifiable offices or establishments while they operate.

“These are people sitting in somebody’s basement with a computer, which they can just shut down, sell away, buy a new one, and keep going. So, that’s the trouble that we are finding now,” he said.

“If the public is aware and knows and is able to spot because of the way that these scams are presented, then that is the best defense that we have,” Mr. Marcos said. — Adrian H. Halili and Kyle Aristophere Atienza