MANILA – Consumers of financial products and services now have greater protection following the issuance of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 11765, otherwise known as the Financial Products and Services Consumer Protection Act (FCPA).
This, following the approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) en banc, during its meeting last April 25, of the IRR which will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or at least two major dailies.
The memorandum states that the IRR “shall apply to all financial products and services, and financial services providers”, with the latter pertaining to, among others, the issuers of securities; securities brokers, dealers, and salesmen, investment houses, and firms offering similar services; financing and lending companies; and microfinance-non government organizations (MF-NGOs).
In a statement Monday, SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said “true to the objectives of the FCPA, the IRR advances financial consumers’ right to equitable and fair treatment, to disclosure and transparency in the marketing of financial products and services, to protection of consumer assets against fraud and misuse, to data privacy and protection, and to timely handling and redress of complaints of consumers.”
“In turn, the IRR reinforces the commission’s mandate of, and unwavering commitment to, protecting financial consumers, and inculcating in financial service providers the values of fairness, transparency, accountability and ethics,” he said.
The commission said the IRR and the FCPA “reinforces the powers of the SEC to exercise authority over issuers of securities in tokenized or digital forms.”
It said the IRR also increased the enforcement actions allowed for the commission, and these include preventing the financial service providers from collecting exorbitant fees or unreasonable interest fees or charges and issuance of writs of execution, attachment, levy and garnishment.
The rules also allowed the commission to provide efficient and effective consumer redress or complaints handling mechanisms like mediation and conciliation and may adjudicate actions as a result of financial transactions that are civil in nature.
“The decision of the commission in the adjudication shall be final and executory, and may not be restrained or set aside by the courts except on petition for certiorari on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, or lack or excess of jurisdiction of the Commission,” it added. (PNA)