SEC issues cease and desist order against fake Ayala Corporation investment scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken action against entities falsely representing themselves as Ayala Corporation to unlawfully solicit investments from the public.

In a directive dated February 22, the Commission En Banc instructed Ayala Corporation Group, Inc., Ayala Corporation Budgetarian Online Shop, Global Online Ayala Corporation, Bellavita Ayala Corporation, and Ayala Corporation E Commerce to immediately cease and desist from soliciting, offering, or selling securities without the necessary license from the SEC.

The order also prohibits the group from conducting any business involving funds in its depository banks and from transferring any related assets to ensure the protection of investor assets. It encompasses all individuals associated with the counterfeit Ayala group.

This move follows an investigation by the SEC Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD), which uncovered the group's unregistered investment scheme known as Tasking and Recharging. This scheme recruits investors for online jobs, tasking them with certain responsibilities in exchange for commissions. Additionally, investors are encouraged to purchase consumer products from partner-sellers to enhance store rankings and earn commissions.

The SEC found that the scheme involved the sale of securities in the form of investment contracts, violating Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8799, or The Securities Regulation Code (SRC), which requires securities to be registered with the SEC before being sold or distributed in the Philippines.

Moreover, the bogus Ayala group was found to be presenting counterfeit incorporation documents and registration papers from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to establish legitimacy.

The SEC's order noted that the group intentionally deceived the public by portraying themselves as legitimate corporations authorized to deal with securities. The SEC emphasized that applicants for company registration must choose a name distinct from existing corporate names, according to SEC Memorandum Circular No. 13, Series of 2019.

Since October 10, 2023, the SEC has cautioned the public against investing in the counterfeit Ayala group. Ayala Corporation has also disavowed any involvement in the group's investment solicitation activities, stating that its stocks may only be purchased through licensed stockbrokers accredited by the Philippine Stock Exchange.

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