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Editing by Nathaniel Cajuday
- SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee emphasized the necessity of registration for entities offering securities in the Philippines, reiterating the recent advisory.
- Gemini Exchange received a caution from the SEC for providing its unregistered product, Gemini Derivatives, in the country, violating securities regulations.
- Commissioner Lee, who oversees multiple departments within the SEC, has recently been recognized with two international awards for his leadership in promoting fintech innovation in the Philippines.
Following their recent advisory on Gemini Exchange, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee reiterated that registration is necessary for any entity to be able to offer securities in the country.
Commissioner Lee on Gemini Advisory
“The advisory is part of the Commission’s effort to secure the investment landscape. Investor protection is one of our primary mandates. We do not want unregistered and unlicensed entities to operate in the Philippines,” Lee told BitPinas.
According to him, the investigation on Gemini’s offering was done by the SEC’s Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD). The results of the inquiry were likewise reflected on the advisory.
The SEC Advisory
Two weeks after the launch of Gemini Foundation, the non-U.S. derivatives platform of Gemini, the crypto firm already received a caution from the SEC for providing its product, Gemini Derivatives, in the Philippines without the required registration and licenses.
The Commission noted that selling or distributing securities without proper registration is illegal in the country; Gemini’s activities are considered illegal under Section 8.1 of the Securities Regulation Code (SRC), which requires securities, including derivatives, to be registered with and approved by the SEC. Offering derivatives in the country requires a license from the SEC as defined by the SRC.
Moreover, the Commission also stated that the public announcement of derivatives offering in the Philippines is another violation by Gemini, as it is considered as a public offering. According to the implementing rules and regulations of the SRC, forms of communication such as advertisements on various platforms, distribution of flyers or brochures, and other means of information distribution are considered public solicitation.
Read more about the advisory here: SEC Issues Advisory vs Gemini Exchange for Selling Unregistered Securities in the Philippines
What is the Gemini Foundation?
On May 4, 2023, Gemini Exchange announced the launch of their non-U.S. derivatives platform, Gemini Foundation, in the Philippines and 29 other countries and territories.
The decision to launch the platform outside the United States was driven by regulatory challenges faced by Gemini in its home country, where it faced lawsuits from both the CFTC and SEC regarding alleged securities violations.
However, in the Philippines, entities are required to obtain licenses from the SEC for derivatives and a VASP license to facilitate crypto-to-fiat transactions. After the advisory from the SEC, Gemini has recently removed the Philippines from the list of countries where they provide derivatives, as indicated on their website. A record of their previous offering in the Philippines can be accessed here.
Who is Commissioner Lee?
SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee currently holds the position of Supervising Commissioner for both the Markets and Securities Regulation Department (MSRD) and the Information and Communications Technology Department (ICTD). Additionally, he played a leading role in the establishment of the International Affairs and Protocol Division (IAPD) and currently oversees its operations. Similarly, Lee is responsible for the supervision of the PhiliFintech Innovation Office (PhiliFiNNO) within the Commission.
Recently, he has been recognized with two prestigious international awards for his exceptional leadership in driving fintech innovation in the Philippines. Amongst over 800 nominations from the region, Lee was honored with the highest accolade, the Gold Stevie Award for Thought Leader of the Year, at the 10th Annual Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.
He was also recognized as an exceptional FinTech Regulatory and Innovation Leader by the Asian FinTech Academy (AFTA) at the Asian Digital Finance Forum & Awards. These recognitions highlight his significant contributions and influential role in the field of fintech.
This article is published on BitPinas: [Exclusive] Advisory vs Gemini Part of SEC’s Effort to Secure Investment Landscape, Commissioner Lee Explains
Disclaimer: BitPinas articles and its external content are not financial advice. The team serves to deliver independent, unbiased news to provide information for Philippine-crypto and beyond.