CSE and SEC to restore confidence among foreign investors | Sunday Observer

CSE and SEC to restore confidence among foreign investors

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), recently organised an Invest Sri Lanka Forum targeting portfolio and direct investors in Singapore, to reassure foreign investors.

The investors were offered an assessment of the investment climate and expectations for the short-medium term, considering the context of the Easter Sunday attacks that took place on April 21, 2019.

The event was organised in association with the Sri Lankan High Commission in Singapore and supported by the Singapore Business Federation in the capacity of promotional partner. Asia Securities was the Exclusive Platinum Sponsor of the event, while Sri Lankan Airlines was the Official Travel Partner.

Investors also attended a number of one-to-one and group meetings with representatives of Sri Lankan listed companies who travelled to Singapore for the Invest Sri Lanka Initiative, which included Chairmen, Chief Executives and Senior Management representatives of John Keells Holdings, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, Dialog Axiata, Hemas Holdings, Sampath Bank, Peoples leasing and Finance, National Development Bank, Softlogic Holdings, Softlogic Life Insurance and Sunshine Holdings. The event was also supported by the Sri Lankan Stock Brokering community and respective partners based in Singapore, with 8 Sri Lankan firms present at the event.

State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne, the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, SEC Chairman Ranel T. Wijesinha, CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena, and the Managing Director at LYNEAR Wealth Management, Dr. Naveen Gunawardane spoke at the event while CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike and SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunawardane joined in as panelists during the discussion segment.

The panel discussion was moderated by Senior Advisory Board Member and Past President of the Singapore Sri Lanka Business Association Manjiv Dodanwela.

State Minister Wickramaratne acknowledged that the events of April 21 were a setback, but said that all possible steps to ensure national security have been implemented during the past month, including apprehending elements that were responsible for the attacks.

He said that Sri Lanka has witnessed overwhelming support internationally from foreign governments, institutions and the international community at-large, who have expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka during recovery and response efforts.

The State Minister commended the resilience of the Sri Lankan people, stating that the effort to restore normalcy during the past month has been solidified by the drive and unity of the Sri Lankan people.

Commenting on the economy the State Minister stated that the government remains committed to fiscal consolidation despite the setback but will endeavor to support businesses and industries that were severely affected, affirming that the government has already introduced a relief package for the tourism sector.

Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said that the fact that the robust macro-economic fundamentals which were evident before April 21 have remained in-tact post the tragic events offers reason to be optimistic on the ability of the economy to recuperate in the short-term.

Commenting on the economic impact of the attacks, the Governor said, “If you look at the economy, it is very much in-tact. So the capacity to bounce back is clear, if we can restore stability – and we have gone a long way towards doing that. If you take a medium-term view of Sri Lanka, the potential is enormous. We will get through these disturbances, as tragic as they were, and bounce back.”

SEC Chairman Ranel T. Wijesinha said, “We in Sri Lanka are deeply committed at all levels, including Government, Institutional, the Capital Market and other levels, to maintain the momentum that has been achieved in the past few years and especially to re-attract investors that may have left and to attract new investors”.

CSE Chairman Ray Abeywardena said foreign investors have bought more stocks than they have sold during the past month, with a net inflow of Rs. 231 million since April 21.

Managing Director of Lynear Wealth Management, Dr. Naveen Gunawardane said, “As long term investors, this is the time that you should be really looking at the market, because you want to buy when there are opportunities through short-term shocks. The equity markets are cheap; the valuations are very attractive and although liquidity is quite tight, what we have seen is that you can actually build up positions provided that you have a bit of patience.”