THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said that it had reached a settlement agreement with Hoton Retail and Services, Inc. regarding the latter’s franchise partnership program.

In an order posted in its website, the corporate regulator said Hoton on Dec. 28, 2020 paid a settlement amounting to P815,000, equivalent to 50% of the penalty that can be imposed under the provisions of Republic Act No. 8799 or the Securities Regulation Code.

This is after Hoton proposed an offer of settlement, which was subsequently approved by the commission.

“The above-captioned case is now deemed settled without any determination of fault or guilt on the part of Hoton Retail and Services, Inc.,” the SEC said.

“Moreover, this order effectively lifts the advisory issued against the company,” it added.

To recall, the SEC on Sept. 10 last year posted an advisory on its website, which warned the public from dealing with Hoton due to its operation of unauthorized investment schemes.

A show-cause order was also issued by the SEC on Oct. 26 asking Hoton for an explanation as to why it should not be cited for violation of the Securities Regulation Code. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave