SEC says on track for full automation of company registration system

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Securities and Exchange Commission

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is working on fully automating its company registration system (CRS) within the next two months, among other initiatives to promote the ease of doing business in the country.

SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said they are optimistic the commission’s CRS could be fully automated within a month or two, noting that they are currently using a hybrid manual system to fast-track company registrations.

“I think, the first thing we need to address is the CRS. We’re pushing for the ease of doing business. In a month or two hopefully clean slate na, full swing na tayo on our online system,” Mr. Aquino told reporters on the sidelines of the SEC-Philippine Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center on Tuesday.

“We’re investing heavily on online and automation for inclusive growth,” Mr. Aquino added.

The online CRS will include the “full automation and online pre-processing of corporations and partnerships, licensing of foreign corporations, amendments of the articles of incorporation and other corporate applications requiring SEC approval,” according to the SEC’s website.

Entities applying for registration may also verify their company name online, submit documents for internal processing or evaluation, assess and pay the necessary fees online, among others.

The online CRS was launched in 2017 but has since been met with technical challenges such as problems in filling up of corporate information, unstable internet connectivity, and storage and other system readjustments. The SEC then established the Facilitating Automated System Transition (FAST) lane in several satellite offices to address concerns.

Mr. Aquino said they will also be coming out with the Company Investment and Financial Statistics system in the next 18 months.

“That will help in terms of data analytics. From the old database we will be able to migrate it under this new system. Mapapadali lalo ang pagkuha ng data (It will be easier to get data),” Mr. Aquino explained.

After this, the commission will aim to release the extensible business reporting language, a type of computer language used for the electronic transmission of business and financial data.

“We can come up with data coming from a company very quick, compare it with another company or with the industry. Or industry to industry (comparison),” Mr. Aquino said.

The SEC’s commitment to automate its processes forms part of the Ease of Doing Business law signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. This will require all government agencies to reduce the processing time for business permits and official documents.

The law is expected to improve the Philippines’ ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business report. The Philippines landed on the 113th spot among 190 economies in the 2018 version of the annual report, dropping from its 99th rank in 2017. — Arra B. Francia