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Philippines: PH-IGM, Gameloot, Vertex Evo Trading hit with SEC warnings

The Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued advisories against three entities in breach of securities laws. The entities include PH-IGM, Gameloot, and Vertex Evo Trading, firms blacklisted by the securities watchdog for violating extant regulations.

According to the public advisory, the SEC noted that Vertex Evo Trading, headed by Carlos Jeff Bayan, allegedly solicited investments from the public to be invested in virtual currencies. The Commission pointed out that the firm was not authorized to make such moves on the grounds of its failure to register with the SEC.

“Based on the Commission’s database, the said entity is not registered with the Commission as a corporation, OPC, or a partnership. The entity likewise has not been issued by the Commission, any license or permit to sell or offer securities to the public or to conduct any activities regulated by the Commission,” the warning read.

In a similar warning, the SEC pointed out that Gameloot is not authorized to offer investments contracts to the public as it “operates without the necessary license and/or authority” Gameloot told the public that investors could earn between 50% to 150% profit with the additional option of making 10% on each referral bonus.

In its submission, the securities watchdog said that Gameloot operated like a Ponzi scheme, using the funds of new investors to pay old investors. Members of the public are warned against investing in the scheme, while individuals acting as salesmen and brokers of the company could face imprisonment of 21 years in jail or the payment of a fine worth 5 million pesos.

PH-IGM was the last firm slammed with a public warning by the SEC for operating in a regulatory gray area. According to the advisory, PH-IGM offered the public returns on their investments worth a staggering 1000% after 200 days, which the SEC also termed as having the characteristics of a Ponzi scheme.

“The offering and selling of securities in the form of investment contracts using the “Ponzi Scheme” which is fraudulent and unsustainable, is NOT a registrable security. The Commission will not issue a License to Sell Securities to the Public to persons or entities that are engaged in this business or scheme,” the SEC said.

The SEC’s blistering streak

In the last 12 months, the Philippines’ securities regulator has issued nearly 100 advisories against firms offering digital asset investments without prior registration. The public advisories have been hailed as being a clog in the wheels of bad actors in the industry, potentially saving investors from losses.

Aside from issuing public warnings, the commission has also conducted daring raids on the offices of erring firms in conjunction with law enforcement agencies. The commission has also been at the forefront of the fight for clearer regulations for virtual currencies in the Philippines.

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