Philippine corporate regulator joins IFIAR

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now a member of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR), an organization that works toward advancing sustainable and high quality audit reports.

In a statement issued Thursday, the SEC said it has recently been admitted to the IFIAR, joining 55 other jurisdictions across Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania, and Europe.

“Membership to the IFIAR is a testament to the work carried out by the SEC over recent years and a recognition of the developments that have been made in audit oversight in the Philippines,” SEC Commissioner Antonieta F. Ibe said in a statement.

“We are one with IFIAR’s mission to serve the public interest, including investors, by enhancing audit oversight globally and to proactively influence audit matters worldwide and to shape the future of international dialogue on audit quality and regulatory oversight.”

Founded in 2006, IFIAR’s goal is to help investors by enhancing audit oversight globally. The organization encourages knowledge-sharing among its members and promotes collaboration and consistency in regulatory activity.

The organization’s activities include an annual workshop that focuses on inspection processes and challenges, enhancing insight into members’ oversight regimes, and identifying better practices.

“The workshop also promotes greater consistency across regulators, and provides opportunities to discuss approaches to overseeing global audit firms in a coordinated manner,” according to IFIAR’s website.

The organization also conducts an Inspection Findings Survey annually, the results of which are made public.

“IFIAR continues to work with its members and prospective members to enhance independent audit oversight globally, and we look forward to working with the team at the Philippine SEC,” the commission quoted IFIAR Chairman Brian Hunt as saying in a statement.

The commission also noted that the IFIAR membership will allow them to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Audit Regulators Group. This is composed of Malaysia’s Audit Oversight Board, Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, Thailand’s SEC, and Indonesia’s Finance Professions Supervisory Center.

The SEC has been working on increasing its connectivity with Asian peers. It released in late 2018 the proposed guidelines for the implementation of the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF)pass, which aims to allow the free movement of investment advisers within the ASEAN.

Signatories to the ACMF pass include Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. With this, qualified professionals such as sales personnel of a broker and certified investment advisers may be allowed to issue or promote research reports on products in the capital markets involved. — Arra B. Francia