By Arra B. Francia
SECURITIES professionals welcomed the freer entry of investment professionals from major ASEAN markets, calling a recently-agreed arrangement a step forward in developing investor expertise.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) signed last week a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum Professional Mobility Framework with its counterparts in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. The agreement intends to facilitate the cross-border movement of investment advisers across ASEAN-member countries.
The initial phase of the Professional Mobility Framework will introduce the ACMF Pass, which will “allow licensed professionals to provide advisory services within participating ASEAN jurisdictions, with fast-track registration and no additional licensing requirements.”
The Professional Mobility Framework is set to be implemented in January, with the ACMF Pass to be valid for two years. After this, the professional’s presence in another ASEAN country will then be subjected to host regulation.
Professionals who may avail of the pass include licensed salesmen for equities and fixed income securities and certified investment solicitors employed by fund managers.
“This recent MoU on investment professionals is a major development in the ongoing move towards a standardized ASEAN, bringing the Philippines closer in quality to more advanced markets such as Singapore,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Equity Analyst Rens V. Cruz II said in a mobile message.
Philstocks Financial, Inc. Research Associate Piper Chaucer Tan said the initiative will demonstrate the growth potential of Philippine capital markets to the rest of ASEAN.
“This is also an opportunity for our local bourse to be open or increase awareness among fellow Filipinos, since it has been estimated that less than one million are actively trading in the stock market… Neighboring countries might be able to also invest here in the Philippines,” Mr. Tan said via text.
AP Securities, Inc. Research Analyst Rachelle C. Cruz viewed the signing of the MoU as a positive step, noting that information is “the fulcrum of every investment decision.”
“Any framework intended to enhance efficiency of the flow of funds within the financial market should be viewed as positive. Also, this professional mobility framework will be beneficial to investment professionals across ASEAN as they will be able to integrate their knowledge and gain more experience in the member-countries’ financial markets,” Ms. Cruz said in an e-mail.
Papa Securities Corp. Deputy Head of Research Arabelle C. Maghirang said the MoU will make knowledge transfer less constrained.
“Knowledge transfer and access to regionally-acknowledged best practices will be beneficial. Likewise, increased objective investment valuation will also benefit investors,” Ms. Maghirang said in a separate e-mail.
Regina Capital’s Mr. Cruz noted that over the short term, there will be a temporary increase in competition as foreign professionals enter the country. This however is expected to be “greatly overshadowed by the influx of expertise, skill sets and innovation, allowing domestic professionals to learn from their counterparts.”
AP Securities’ Ms. Cruz said the competition will encourage locals to improve existing financial products or services, as well as innovate to attract clients and “protect or expand” their market share.
“Increased efficiency of information also mean lower costs for Filipino investors,” Ms. Cruz said.
Ms. Maghirang concurred, saying that “streamlining the quality of services will also help in increasing deals within the region and make advisory services more competitive.”