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SEC maintains highest COA audit grade for 4th straight year

MANILA, Philippines — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has earned an “unmodified opinion” from the Commission on Audit (COA) for the fourth consecutive year, a testament to the commission’s transparent and prudent handling of public finances.

In an independent auditor’s report, state auditor Concepcion Reyes provided an “unmodified opinion,” also known as an “unqualified opinion,” on the fairness of the presentation of the commission’s 2021 financial statements.

“In our opinion, the accompanying financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the SEC as of December 31, 2021, and its financial performance, changes in net assets/equity, cash flows, comparison of budget, and actual amounts for the year then ended, and notes to financial statements, in accordance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS),” the report read.

The audit was conducted in accordance with the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions to ascertain the level of assurance that may be placed on the management’s assertion on the financial statements; determine the propriety of transactions; recommend improvement opportunities, and determine the extent of the implementation of prior years’ audit recommendations.

An unqualified or unmodified opinion is offered when auditors conclude that the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatements, which could come from either error or fraud, according to the IPSAS.

The SEC also got an unqualified opinion on the fairness of the presentation of its financial statements for 2018, 2019, and 2020, making this the longest streak of unqualified opinions the Commission has received over the past decade.

“We take satisfaction in the four-year streak of unqualified opinions we have obtained from COA, which serves as a concrete indication of our devotion to transparency, accountability, and good governance,” SEC chairperson Emilio Aquino said in a statement Sunday.

“This witness to the honest, sound, and responsible use of public funds, is especially significant for the SEC, which is authorized to regulate the country’s business sector and should consequently serve as an example for the highest standards of transparency and accountability in the industry,” he said.

The SEC has continually campaigned for good governance and for the development of ease of doing business in the country by removing red tape and other chances for graft and corruption.

Last month, the commission was awarded the recipient of the Global Good Governance (3G) Advocacy and Commitment to Corporate Governance Award by London-based Cambridge International Financial Advisory for the second consecutive year.

The award is granted to individuals and institutions who treat governance and sustainability as strategic opportunity.

The SEC was also recognized as the 3G Transparency Awardee by the same financial advice house, in appreciation of its rigorous and comprehensive reporting on financials, governance, and strategy.

For advocating sustainability and good governance in the corporate sector, SEC director Rachel Esther Gumtang-Remalante of the Corporate Governance and Finance Department was acclaimed as one of Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen for 2021 by Singapore-based consultancy CSRWorks International.

In March, the commission earned the ISO 9001:2015 Certification afresh for its quality management system covering all core services throughout its main and extension offices.

The certification covers procedures pertaining to the provision of registration of partnerships and companies in the SEC Extension Offices in Baguio, Tarlac, Legazpi, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Davao, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga.

The commission first received ISO 9001:2015 Certification in 2018, then successfully expanded the scope of its ISO-certified quality management system to 122 document procedures in 2020 from an initial 59.

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