2019: Forex Trading In The Philippines — What Is LEGAL, What Is NOT

On October 30, 2018, the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Issued it’s latest advisory stating categorically that “Forex Trading Is Illegal In The Philippines” For Context, here are the highlights of that advisory:

October 30, 2018


The public is hereby advised to STOP engaging in Foreign Exchange Trading and to STOP investing in foreign-registered investment platforms of commodity futures, contracts for difference, indices, binary options and the like. Further, the SEC advises the public that persons and entities acting as brokers, salesmen or agents of these securities have NO LICENSE to engage or deal in any manner with these securities and should therefore be AVOIDED or IGNORED…

…The public is encouraged to report to the Commission entities and/or persons operating Foreign Exchange Trading platforms and those acting as brokers, salesmen or agents of these operators to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) at telephone numbers 818-76-50 and 818-63-37.”

My name is Mark So and I have been trading the Forex Market online for approximately 15 years already. I am based in the Philippines and I have been educating our fellow Filipino’s on the dangers as well as facts about this highly speculative industry.

When this advisory came out, I had a lot of people ask me questions, but a lot more people keeping quiet and slowly move away from Forex trading. I would therefore like to share some more information and clarification on this topic in a simple Q and A (Question and Answer) format.

Q: “Is Studying and Analyzing Currency Movements Illegal in The Philippines?”

A: “NO”

Q: “I have an existing trading account with a Foreign registered broker, am I in trouble?”

A: “NO”

Q: “Can I still trade my forex account? Or should I just withdraw the funds”

A: “Yes you can still trade your account. You can also just withdraw the funds if you do not want to trade anymore”

Q: But what about the advisory of SEC that Forex trading is illegal in the Philippines, what aspect is considered illegal?

A: As the Advisory states, the public should not invest in actual foreign exchange trading. This would literally mean that you should not open a trading account with any Foreign registered investment platform moving forward. Attending a seminar on understanding what it is all about is not considered illegal.

Q: Why did SEC issue this advisory?

A: The advisory came about because of a lot of complaints from investors who lost money trading forex due to entities acting as brokers, salesmen or agents and have no regulatory licenses in the Philippines. So please beware of entities and personalities that use deceptive advertising and marketing tactics that lure a lot of unsuspecting investors giving them false hopes. 

Q: Are you concerned that the SEC may pursue a case against you and your education in Forex?

A: NO. My intentions are very clear. My purpose is to educate and protect people in this industry, not to deceive and scam people.

In fact, a few days after the SEC advisory came out, I placed a call directly to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department (EIPD) at telephone numbers 818-76-50 and 818-63-37 and talked to the person in charge of pursuing those in violation of this advisory and clarified. I stated my name and what I do.

From my understanding, the priority for the EIPD is to pursue cases where there are complaints of fraudulent activities which have come to their attention. Realistically, this is what the SEC can do at this point. Reading between the lines However, if you already have a trading account and have no complaints, there really is nothing the EIPD can and will do.

Q: What is your plan as a Forex Trainer in the future?

A: I have already volunteered to be a resource person for the SEC to get policies in place to regulate the Forex Market in the Philippines. I’ve had ongoing productive phone conversations with the EIPD in 2018 and stating this year 2019 with the Markets and Securities Regulatory Division (MSRD) who will be issuing policy guidelines for properly regulating Forex in the Philippines. I have offered my help in several key issues in getting these policies done and from how our conversations are going, they are open to collaborate with me. 

I do understand the plight of uninformed investors who want to get into the Forex trading space. I also have a deep appreciation of what the SEC is trying to do to protect the investment public in general.

We are still early stages but according to the MSRD, they’ve been wanting to release policy guidelines already since last year, but they still need some more research. Needless to say, I will be doing my very best to help the SEC get Forex Trading and Investing in the Philippines legal and regulated already and STOP those who victimize people in our industry.

Q: “Will the SEC Regulate the Forex Market In The Philippines?”

A: “According to the MSRD of SEC, Yes, however there is no definite time table yet for this.”

Q: “What Should I do Now If I’m Really Interested In Forex?”

A:  “Study first, when the regulations or clearer guidelines are in place in the Philippines, then start trading.”

Q: “What’s the point of studying and Analyzing Currency Movements If I Can’t Trade Yet?”

A: “Understanding when to exchange your USD to Pesos or Pesos to Euros or Yen or Pounds and other currency movements is important when it comes to mainstream businesses and Overseas Filipino Workers who regularly transact businesses in foreign currencies. Money Changers and forex remittance companies, even regular tourists and travelers who want to minimize foreign conversion losses due to fluctuations can also benefit from what I teach. Furthermore, Understanding currency movements is the foundation that is needed when learning to invest outside of the Philippines.”

Do you have questions? Leave a comment below and I will try my best to answer them.

You May Also Want to Read This Article: “3 Ways Scams Come Into The Forex Market, And How To Protect Yourself”

272 thoughts on “2019: Forex Trading In The Philippines — What Is LEGAL, What Is NOT”

  1. Hi I really wanted to join forex trading but I am kind of hesitant because there’s a lot of scammers out there. At first, I have joined a webinar session with Learn to Trade 2 weeks ago, the session is very informative, they even mentioned manny pangilinan as one of their member, but after the session they are asking for a training fee 85,000php which they mentioned a discounted price from 250000php, for a three days training, but you can only start trading after you fully paid the training fee, they even offered installments for 3 mos to fully pay the fee, with just a deposit of 10k. At the time I got frustrated because i would have to wait for a whole 3 months before i can trade, so I declined their offer and realized it was just a scam. Then I have found about XM trading, there are good reviews at first but when i researched further online for the reviews, i have found that there are also a lot of complaints about this trading company, can you advise me a legit way to join forex trading.

      • hi Mark, as of the moment a lot of people are engaging in forex trading that is owned and operated by foreign countries and entities, does it mean that its also elligal for us filipino to use it?


  2. Good day Sir. May I ask, is it okay to set-up and register (Business Permit, DTI, BIR, etc…) a business here in the Philippines for doing Forex trading only. Of course, I trade only my own money.

    • No. And why would you even need to get a business permit if you are only going to trade your own money? You typically set up a business to get customers. If own money, there is no need.

  3. Good Day!

    I am a college student that plans to trade forex with my extra money I am willing to lose. Assuming I turned a profit, would I still declare it under “additional income” even if it is my only source of income?

  4. …too many correspondences here and so would apologize it my following question has already been previously discussed.
    I gathered from your original article that forex trading is illegal in the Philippines and you are doing it through a foreign based broker.
    I’d be interested to know how you pay taxes on your forex trade income if it is not allowed. As what would you declare it?

    Thank you for your feedback

    • Taxes are declared manually through ITR through my accountant. Kindly consult your own accountant on how to do it. Thanks

  5. Hey there good sir,

    I hope this thread is still active. I’m currently planning on joining a Forex Prop firm based in Israel (5ers). I know it’s a long way to go, but the potential gain that I could get based on my system and the maximum fund that the firm could give me is at max Php5005-800k monthly. Starting could be P50k-100k.They pay via paypal. With these amounts, how would you manage such withdrawals and taxation? I’m just worried if I’d be flagged for money laundering once I got to those higher levels.

    I’m thinking of actually going to my bank for consultations or an accountant or is there any materials I could read. Not sure where to start.

    I guess my question is where to start looking for answers.

    Thank you.

  6. Hi, Sir Mark. I would like to ask if you are familiar with Meta Trader 5 and if you have an idea if its legal in the Philippines? Thank you. 🙂

    • Hi Lhyn, Meta trader 5 is a platform. What is legal or illegal is the brokerage firm attached to it. If the broker is not properly regulated, then stay away from it altogether. Take care

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