By Iris Gonzales, January 3, 2024; The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hit a new record of company registrations last year, driven by its digitization efforts.

A total of 46,445 firms successfully registered using the SEC Electronic Simplified Processing of Application for Registration of Corporation (eSPARC) from January to November last year, surpassing the previous record of 42,936 for 2022, data from the SEC showed.

Of the total number of registrants, domestic stock corporations accounted for 74 percent or 34,140 of the newly registered firms.

Some 9,727 or 21 percent are domestic non-stock corporations and 2,453 or five percent are partnerships, while the rest are foreign stock and non-stock corporations.

Of the newly registered firms, 36 percent or 16,734 are domestic stock corporations with less than five incorporators, and about 14 percent are one person corporations (OPCs).

OPCs were made possible following the enactment of Republic Act 11232, or the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines in 2019.

Prior to this, the old Corporation Code required at least five incorporators.

In terms of industries, the majority or 85 percent of registered corporations were from the service sector, with the wholesale and retail trade industry group registering 9,859 (21 percent) new firms, followed by their service activities.

SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said their digitization efforts are paying off as seen in the higher number of new registrations.

“The back-to-back record highs seen in 2022 and 2023 for company registration prove that we are succeeding in making doing business easier in the Philippines,” Aquino said.

Efforts include the launch of eSPARC in April 2021 and its subsystem, the One Day Submission and Electronic Registration of Companies (OneSEC) in September 2021.

The launch of eSPARC reduced the time needed to register a company to three days from 34 days previously. Applicants have the option to register through OneSEC, a pass-through system with pre-filled application forms.

The SEC also launched the Electronic System for Payments to the SEC (eSPAYSEC), where the public can choose from over 90,000 online and offline payment options.

Last year, the SEC also unveiled its new advanced systems for access to corporate information and other services, namely: Electronic SEC Universal Registration Environment (eSECURE), SEC CheckApp 2.0, Electronic SEC Education, Analysis, Research Computing Hub (eSEARCH), SEC API Marketplace, and the Electronic Registration Application for Market Participants (eRAMP).