AS THE PHILIPPINES hosts this year Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, the Securities and Exchange Commission is backing multilateral initiatives to boost cross-border flow of investments, including the regional fund passport scheme.
The goal really is to create a bigger pool of funds that can be tapped for investment, such as for infrastructure investment, Securities and Exchange Commission Ephryo Luis Amatong said in a briefing on Friday.
A regional fund passporting scheme is among those to be folded into the Cebu Action Plan of the Apec financial sector summit this September.
This is in line with the four pillars of the Cebu summit: Financial integration, fiscal transparency and policy reform, financial resiliency and infrastructure development and financing.
Spearheaded by Australia and New Zealand, the Asia-Pacific regional funds passport (ARFP) provides a multilaterally agreed framework to facilitate the cross border marketing of managed funds across participating economies in the Asia region. Four out of the 21 Apec member-economies, Amatong said, had so far indicated their intention to sign the ARFP. Apart from proponents Australia and New Zealand, Korea and Singapore are ready to join the initiative, he said.
That’s a plan by which funds that are within the region can solicit investments throughout the region in order to tap savings within the region, Amatong said, adding that this would allow legitimate funds to hurdle the usual obstacle to financial integration, which was the different rules applied in each jurisdiction.
Describing the current system, Amatong said: If I register as a fund in Singapore, before I can do and solicit business in the Philippines, I have to register again because local regulators want to make sure I’m an honest-to-goodness investment firm and not a scam.
While each jurisdiction would naturally set its own investor protection rules, Amatong said the AFRP was a voluntary scheme-for those which were ready to do so-to streamline the process.
The Philippines can not sign up yet to the ARFP scheme due to legislated deposit secrecy restrictions that prevent it from joining the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), an association of organizations that regulates the world’s securities and futures markets and whose primary objective is exchange of information. However, Amatong said the Philippines was supportive of the ARFP initiative as a way to move forward and could be one of the concrete initiatives to come out of the Cebu Summit.
In the meantime, the SEC has been seeking a legislative leeway to look into deposits in cases of securities violations.
Apart from finance and central bank regulators from member economies, more than 70 corporate leaders from Apec are expected to attend the Cebu Summit.
Apec is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.