SEC-Davao warns public on 5 firms with investment offerings

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 3 Feb) – The Security Exchange Commission (SEC) has received reports of five companies with similar investment scheme as the Jacama Sales and Marketing that was closed down last month by Davao City’s Business Bureau for violation of the Local Revenue Code of 2005.

During Wednesday’s forum at Habi at Kape, SEC-Davao extension office head Javey Paul D. Francisco said that reports cited these five companies, as yet unnamed, as being engaged in soliciting investments from the public, although the agency has yet to launch a fact-finding to verify reports.

“We received raw information but we have to validate. If the information is accurate, we have to get testimony… whether from us, or from the public that this is how they operate,” he said.

He added that that investment companies would be required to have a minimum paid-up capital of P50 million plus their products must have a clearance while the individual salesmen must secure a license.

The Jacama was reportedly offering a cash back guarantee sales program to investors as the main product, although its permit with city only granted them to operate as a retailer of general merchandise.

Francisco added that the company had drawn 15,000 to 20,000 investors before it was stopped by the city.

“It’s only when they start operating or there are complaints that you can start investigating. It’s better if they register now so they can be monitored because there will be declarations as to the persons involved,” he said.

The firm’s business registration is reportedly with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) since it is a single proprietorship.

But Francisco added that before a company can offer investment contracts to any individuals, it must be registered with SEC first, otherwise it must be stopped.

“If it has something to do with pyramiding, or selling of products but the main source of income is recruitment and the product is just the front, then that’s DTI (jurisdiction). If it entices people to invest promising fantastic returns over a short period of time, then that’s an investment scam within the SEC jurisdiction,” he said.

Francisco warned the people of this kind of pyramiding scam, as he emphasized that this system “distorts entrepreneurship because what happens is that your income comes from the investment of the other people.”

He added that this investment scheme can go on for a year but there will come a time that it will no longer entice investors or the market will be already saturated.

The SEC-Davao is planning to hold a series of investor information seminar nationwide, kicking off in the city sometime in March this year to educate the people on the investments scams like “how to detect, what to avoid, and how to report.”

“At the same time, we will also present what alternative investments that are legitimate aside from the usual investments that are registered with SEC,” Francisco said.

SEC-Davao also issued advisories to inform the public who are these companies who have been issued with cease and desist orders for violating SEC policies.

“After all, the first line of defense should be investors themselves,” Francisco said.

“You have to educate yourself in investing in general. You can check with Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) if you want go into stocks,” he added.

“Generally speaking, if the investment product or scheme appears to be too good to be true with fantastic returns, it cannot be from a legitimate investments and you have to be careful,” Francisco warned.

He said that some individuals are drawn into investment scams because of greed even if they know that returns cannot be certain.

“There’s no substitute for hard work,” Francisco stressed.