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Public warned vs two unregistered investment firms

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THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned Filipinos against investing in two entities without a license to solicit investments.

In separate advisories posted on its website, the corporate regulator flagged BNY PAL (Benta Paluwagan)/BNYPAL & Trading and Pecado, saying these are unregistered firms.

BNY PAL invites people to invest at least P20,000 via “paluwagan slots or cash benta slots,” according to the SEC.

“The scheme employed by BNY PAL has the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme, where monies from new investors are used in paying fake profits to prior investors and is designed mainly to favor its top recruiters and prior risk takers and is detrimental to subsequent members in case of scarcity of new investors,” the SEC said.

It added that BNY PAL offers various paluwagan slots and income for different maturity periods, but there is no matrix on how much income investors will get.

“Based on one of the contracts posted, BNY PAL (Benta Paluwagan)/BNYPAL & Trading offers a minimum of 30% (income) in just 10 days,” the SEC said.  

“The Securities Regulation Code requires that said offer and sale of securities must be duly registered with the commission and that the concerned entity and/or its agents should have the appropriate registration and/or license to sell such securities to the public,” it added.

Meanwhile, the SEC said Pecado or P/E Capital Assetized Digital Offerings is an interactive digital investment platform that urges the public to invest in its digital assets. It also acts as a stockbroker.

It said Pecado is wholly owned by the US SEC registered investment advisory firm Ashtree Block Ventures LLC. It is operated by Ashtree Block Ventures UAB, which is a unit of Ashtree Block Ventures.

“While Ashtree Block Ventures is a registered investment advisory firm overseas, it is not registered with the commission as a corporation or as a partnership,” the SEC said. “However, an entity named Ashtree Consultancy, Inc., an affiliate firm incorporated in the Philippines, holds a service contract agreement to manage the back-office operations of Pecado.”

A company must have a license and should be registered locally before being allowed to do business in the Philippines, the SEC said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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