SEC to accept digitally signed financial statements from OST-enrolled corporations

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said it will accept digitally signed audited financial statements (AFS) submitted by corporations through its online submission tool (OST) as Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal are still under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

“In a notice issued on April 8, the Commission announced that electronically signed AFS for the period ended December 31, 2020 and for other fiscal years ending this year will be accepted through the OST,” the commission said in a statement on Friday.

The commission said it had received requests from professional and business organizations to allow the use of electronic signatures (e-signatures) in their AFS.

E-signatures are accepted for submissions made through the OST beginning March 29, when the ECQ was first implemented in the so-called NCR Bubble.

“Enrollment in the OST will ensure that the AFS submitted by corporations were duly signed and officially submitted to the Commission by their authorized filers,” the commission said.

However, the SEC is requiring corporations’ management and external auditors to make sure that manually-signed AFS will be available should it be collected by the commission, “pursuant to the exercise of its supervisory and investigative authority and visitorial power under the Securities Regulation Code and Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines.”

All stock corporations are required to file their AFS and other annual reports through the OST starting this year, while nonstock corporations will have until next year to enroll on the platform.

Stock corporations, including branch and representative offices, with a fiscal year ending Dec. 31 are required to enroll and file their AFS through the OST based on the last digit of their SEC registration or license number.

Corporations with registration or license numbers ending with 1 should submit reports within June 1-30; those ending with 2 within July 1-31; with 3 and 4 within Aug. 1-31; those with 5 and 6 within Sept. 1-30; those with 7 and 8 within Oct. 1-31; and those with 9 and 0 from Nov. 1 to 30.

“Those whose fiscal year ends on a date other than December 31 should file their AFS within 120 days from the end of their fiscal year, while publicly listed companies and other issuers of securities should file their AFS within 105 days after the end of their fiscal years,” the corporate regulator said.

Should corporations and their authorized filers encounter problems in OST enrollment or during the submission of reports, physical submission will be allowed provided that an appointment is secured with the SEC Express Appointment System. — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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