THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC Philippines) said Tuesday that it joined the ASEAN Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) Framework, which will allow institutions to offer investment funds to retail investors in other jurisdictions.

The accession to the framework was effected via a supplemental memorandum of understanding with its counterparts in Thailand (SEC Thailand), Securities Commission Malaysia (SC), and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The framework streamlines the approval process for offering funds to retail investors across borders and will regulate qualified investment companies in the Philippines and their fund managers as well as their counterparts in the other ASEAN countries.

“We deeply appreciate the tireless efforts and dedication of SC, MAS, and SEC Thailand in facilitating the admission of the Philippines into the ASEAN CIS Framework… (which allows) us to participate and be able to showcase our collective investment schemes,” SEC Philippines Chairman Emilio B. Aquino said in a statement.

The framework is an initiative under the regional capital markets integration plan endorsed by the region’s finance ministers in 2009 “to facilitate cross-border product access and fund distribution for investors and issuers respectively.”

It allows retail investors to “tap into a wider choice of funds.”

“The addition of the Philippines to the three existing jurisdictions under the framework broadens the range of regional funds for portfolio diversification, and we hope for more participation from our ASEAN counterparts in (the) future,” SC Chairman Syed Zaid Albar said.

Lim Tuang Lee, the capital markets assistant managing director of MAS, said the Philippines’ participation “marks a progressive step” in the region’s capital market integration. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte