Reuters | 12/03/2012 4:59 PM
MANILA - The Philippines will give foreign banks in the country three years to list at least 10 percent of their companies on the local bourse, after the central bank clarified when banks must do so from regulations that were not enforced earlier.
The listing requirement was contained in a 1994 law liberalizing the entry and scope of operations of foreign banks in the Philippines, but it was not implemented because it did not clearly specify when the banks were supposed to comply.
The central bank in a Nov. 28 circular posted on its website defined "reasonable period of time" as three years.
Under the law, foreign banks can operate in the country by acquiring up to 60 percent of an existing bank, investing in up to 60 percent of a new banking subsidiary, or by establishing branches with full banking authority.
Only foreign banks that entered the Philippines via the first two modes are required to make their companies public.
Less than five banks operating in the country now fall under those categories, including Maybank Philippines and Chinatrust, said Judith Sungsai, director for Central Point of Contact Department at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Maybank Philippines said it was not ready to comment as it was seeking guidance from its parent company, Maybank, Eric Montelibano, the bank's corporate affairs head, said.
Chinatrust, a subsidiary of Taiwan's largest bank Chinatrust Commercial Bank, could not immediately comment.
Early this year, Chinatrust opted to voluntarily delist rather than comply with the Philippine Stock Exchange's minimum public float requirement of at least 10 percent.
Reuters could not immediately reach Alberto Villarosa, President of the Bankers Association of the Philippines, for comment.