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SEC eyes monitoring unit to guard LGUs from scams

By Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte, Reporter

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to launch a monitoring group to prevent scamming activities at the local government unit (LGU) level.

In an e-mailed response to questions, the SEC said it is planning to put up an Anti-Scam Task iGroup or the so-called “ASTiG” Network.

“This will help the SEC stop unauthorized investment-taking activities and fraudulent schemes at the community level,” the SEC Office of the Commission Secretary said on Monday.

BusinessWorld reached out to the regulator after Masahiko Ferrer Tanaka brushed off the SEC’s advisory to warn the public against investing in Mr. Tanaka’s Global Booking Hub/GBH/Easy Money Vlogs.

In its Feb. 8 advisory, the SEC said Global Booking Hub is involved in delivery services and foreign exchange. The commission warned the public against investing in its Tora (TRA) token and its “Booking Loads” Plan, among its other investment programs.

Mr. Tanaka, in a Facebook Messenger chat, said that the advisory was true but claimed that the commission does not have complaints because the warning was merely a pakulo or a gimmick.

However, the SEC maintained that Global Booking Hub is not licensed to solicit investments. The SEC said it is not registered “and therefore cannot secure the necessary license to offer/sell securities to the public, in accordance with Republic Act No. 8799, or the Securities Regulation Code.”

“The advisory was issued to prevent further harm to the public, by serving as a warning against dealing with/investing in the said entities,” the SEC Office of the Commission Secretary said.

As of end-February, the commission has issued 34 advisories against entities offering unlicensed investment programs to the public, some of which have been identified by the regulator to be similar to pyramiding schemes and Ponzi schemes.

“The SEC continues to strengthen its investor protection programs through the conduct of webinars and information campaigns that seek to improve the public’s financial literacy and ability to spot investment scams,” the SEC Office of the Commission Secretary said.

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