For the fifth consecutive time, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Financial Regulators Training Initiative (FRTI) regional seminar. This year, the seminar was on ‘Investor and Market Intermediary Education’ from December 7 to 11, 2015 at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo. The seminar was designed for individuals who are responsible for or have an interest in developing financial literacy and education programmes for investors, market intermediaries/financial advisors and company directors.
The chief guest at the event, National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry Secretary M.I.M. Rafeek remarked, “Most Sri Lankans have a sound knowledge of banking but they still lack proper understanding of the capital market and its investment products.” He also highlighted the importance of promoting a long-term investment culture, which will lead to improvements in the domestic investor base.
SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunawardane addressing the gathering mentioned, “Investor education is an essential proactive regulatory tool for empowering investors.” He said that educated investors will lead to a reduction in the cost of regulation.
ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission Country Director Sri Widowati also addressed the seminar.
The APEC Finance Ministers endorsed the establishment of the FRTI to enhance training efforts for financial regulators at national and regional levels. The APEC FRTI has been very successfully providing a sustainable, efficient, cost-effective training structure for junior and mid-level staff of financial supervisory and regulatory agencies and stock and derivative exchanges. The seminar covered four important areas of financial market education – financial literacy, investor education, building capacity through financial market intermediary/financial advisor education and using a corporate governance framework to strengthen the practices of company directors and market intermediary companies.
Participants from 13 countries attended the seminar and this recorded the highest number of foreign participants that have attended an APEC Seminar in Sri Lanka so far. Participants from local regulatory organisations as well as 48 regional participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Korea, Maldives, Nepal, Philippines, Taipei and Thailand attended the seminar.
Resource personnel comprised of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) USA Director Peter Chandler, Securities Industry Development Corporation Malaysia (SIDC) Chief Executive Officer Azman Hisham Bin Che Doi and Smart Steps Australia Chief Executive Officer Robert