MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Dealing System Holdings Corp. vowed Thursday to preserve order in the local bond market while opening itself, particularly its fixed-income trading platform Philippine Dealing & Exchange Corp. (PDEx), to full scrutiny by the highest court of the land.
This development came after PDEx’s operation was challenged in the Supreme Court by former government technocrats and lawmakers who accused PDS and the Bankers Association of the Philippines of conspiring to create a “monopoly” in the bond market.
The PDS Group said in a press statement that the petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was an “opportunity to put to rest once and for all the old issues that have been raised by the petitioners and the interests they support.”
“PDS submits itself to the courts in the hope that the legal questions will be finally settled,” it added.
PDS said the issues presented in the petition, filed by former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., former congressman Luis Villafuerte, former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and former national treasurers Norma Lasala and Caridad Valdehuesa, were the same ones that had in fact been the subject of hearings conducted at different times by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in aid of legislation. It said that such issues and grievances had been aired in the mass media as well.
“Over the years, the regulators who are part of this action (the Department of Finance, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Bureau of the Treasury, and the Securities and Exchange Commission) and PDS have stood by the current market set-up,” the PDS said.
All these public institutions are likewise among the respondents to the case along with PDEx, the BAP, PDS as well as its depository and settlement units.
“The PDS Group was founded to, among others, implement government policy that only with an organized and regulated fixed income market will price transparency, price discovery, effective benchmarking, and investor protection be possible. These features are key factors in promoting the growth of the fixed income market, a very critical part of the capital market, with a wide and inclusive investor base,” PDS said.
The merits of an “organized” market for fixed income trades has been confirmed by the regulatory developments in advanced countries as a “key component to ensure financial stability” in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, PDS said.
“As the legal issues are being settled in the highest court of the land, PDS Group assures its market constituents and the public that it remains committed to preserve order in the markets, and that it will communicate in a timely manner should any matters affecting the market come to fore. In the meantime, all markets shall conduct their business as usual,” PDS said.
The financial market infrastructure group this said its services would continue, thereby ensuring that individual and institutional investors, corporate issuers, dealers and brokers, and business in general would continue to have access to “efficient” markets for executing transactions and “meaningful” reference rates and other market information for the pricing of loans and the valuation of assets.
It said settlements in our fixed income market would continue to enjoy straight through processes in the delivery-versus-payment service while linkages with government remain in place, and settlements in our foreign exchange market will likewise enjoy straight through process in the payment-versus-payment services using the same linkages.
“Our drive to widen public access to our market on a nationwide scale and, working hand in hand with the National Treasury, to bring the tax-exempt segment into the fold, including the adoption of the necessary conventions to achieve this goal, is targeted to be completed within this year,” PDS said, adding that dealers and brokers must thus prepare for this to take advantage of the opportunities of the regional integration.
The group assured that it’s only interested in pursuing legitimate activities pursuant to the policies of the government.
“PDS Group humbly believes that its business rests on well-founded legal and statutory bases, and submits itself to the sound discretion of the Supreme Court,” it said.