Herbosa is new SEC chair

Posted at 04/16/2011 7:18 PM | Updated as of 04/17/2011 11:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Malacañang has confirmed on Saturday the appointment of Teresita J. Herbosa as the new chairperson of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

On April 14, abs-cbnnews.com broke the news about the appointment of Herbosa, a dark horse among the reported choices to replace Fe Barin who was scheduled to retire in March.

Prior to her appointment to the corporate regulator, Herbosa, 60, was a senior partner at the influential Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Office (ACCRA). She rose up the ranks in the law firm where she worked since 1978.

This is reportedly her first foray in government service.

Litigation expert

Herbosa's main expertise is litigation. She handled cases before international and domestic arbitral tribunals.

The SEC, however, has no jurisdiction over intra-corporate disputes or controversies because the agency's quasi-judicial functions have already been transferred to the regional trial courts.

Her peers in the industry note her lack of experience in the capital markets, which the SEC oversees, but stressed her strength: She is "not haunted by integrity issues." 

She is reportedly "very unassuming," has "no air," and "not the type who grabs attention," those who have worked with her told abs-cbnnews.com.

In legal circles, she is reportedly considered a "legal eagle." 

Herbosa graduated cum laude in both of her 2 degrees -- Bachelor of Arts and  Bachelor of Laws -- from the the University of the Philippines. She obtained her Master of Comparative Law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1980.

She also teaches remedial law at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines.

Not an easy job

The SEC regulates corporate transactions and all aspect of the securities markets, including the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

Former PSE president and ACCRA co-managing partner Francis Lim wished Herbosa well in her new post at the corporate regulator, which he said is facing "daunting issues." 
 
Lim, who took over the second highest position at ACCRA that Herbosa used to hold, was among those considered for the SEC post but he reportedly declined it. 

"I am happy for Atty Tess Herbosa and wish her luck in her new job as SEC chair. It is not an easy job as there are daunting issues facing the SEC," he texted abs-cbnnews.com when asked to comment about his colleague's appointment. 

Lim said the issues that SEC faces range from "strengthening the SEC as a regulator, [the] compliance issues on the part of some market players, low regard for our markets by the investors and genuinely protecting their interest, and making our capital markets competitive with our Asian neighbors."

He described Herbosa as a "conscientious and independent lady."