SEC showcases digital transformation initiatives in the Maldives

LAST September 21 to 24, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was given the privilege to showcase digital transformation milestones as part of its ease of doing business initiatives during the 2022 Corporate Registers Forum (CRF) Annual Conference in the Maldives, where representatives from 26 jurisdictions were in attendance.

The CRF is an association of international corporate registries with government agencies from the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore as members. Along with counterpart registries, the SEC highlighted its digitalization efforts and how it helped the Philippine corporate sector, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the forum, Chairman Emilio Aquino mentioned that “the shift to digital transactions was envisioned to make doing business easier than ever as the SEC Philippines strives for a more empowered business sector considered among the best in Southeast Asia.”

He noted that “the SEC Philippines accelerated its digital transformation during the pandemic to efficiently address the demands of the new normal. Guided by its Digital Transformation and Technology Modernization Roadmap, the SEC Philippines turned the pandemic into an opportunity to modernize its policies and processes, and to promote the use of technological innovations for more secure and easier transactions.”

During the conference, the SEC discussed the importance of its digital transformation efforts in encouraging business formation.

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Launched in 2021, the Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Company (eSPARC), a web-based system that streamlines the application process, led to a sharp jump in the number of newly registered domestic corporations and partnerships in 2021, rising by 50.5 percent and 33.4 percent, respectively, despite the pandemic.

eSPARC now allows for the online registration of one-person corporations and both stock and nonstock domestic corporations with at least two but not more than 15 incorporators who may either be natural persons, partnerships, associations or corporations.

Under eSPARC is a subsystem called the One Day Submission and E-registration of Companies (OneSEC), which allows applicants to complete the registration process within one day, with the shortest processing time recorded at under two minutes.

During the conference, Commissioner Javey Paul Francisco highlighted that “the eSPARC is a testament to the SEC Philippines’ agile approach to the vastly changing times.”

The system is integrated with the SEC Cashiering System and online payment portal called the Electronic System for Payments to SEC (eSPAYSEC), which provides the public with a faster, seamless and convenient means to pay registration fees.

eSPARC is likewise linked to the Philippine Business Hub, the national government’s centralized platform that links all government agencies whose processes involve business registration, streamlining redundant processes and effectively reducing the processing time for applicants.

By the way, both the eSPARC and eSPAYSEC are homegrown systems created through the efforts of director Oliver Chato, along with assistant director Archivald Navarro, of the Information and Communications Technology Department, of which I am the supervising commissioner.

Meanwhile, our very own Chairman Aquino has been named Chief Executive Officer of the Year in International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Future of Enterprise Awards 2022 Philippines for steering the SEC toward a digital-first world. Winners of the Future Enterprise Awards distinguished themselves from 1,071 entries received from 707 unique end-user organizations across Asia-Pacific. They were chosen after displaying exceptional planning and implementation of digital transformation initiatives according to IDC’s Future Enterprise benchmark categories. Kudos, SEC!

On a separate note, I would like to invite everyone to check out one of the most awaited events in the Philippine art scene, the upcoming Mindanao Art 2022 to be held from October 15 to Nov. 5, 2022 at the Club at Northtown by Lawig Diwa Inc., in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Committee on Art Galleries and Alsons Development and Investment Corp., and sponsored by several media partners.

Mindanao Art will showcase a carefully selected roster of exhibitors from the five administrative regions of Mindanao, one of which is AHON Mindanao Watercolor Group, to which my wife, Dot Bangayan Lee, has been invited to send her art. You may also visit the event online at

Kelvin Lester K. Lee is a commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The views and opinions stated herein are his own. You may email your comments and questions to [email protected]

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