L-R: Chairman of the SEC, Nalaka Godahewa fielding questions at a specially organized press conference. Chairman of the CSE, Krishan Balendra, Chief Executive Officer, CSE, Sureka Sellahewa are seated next. Pic by: Samantha Perera
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Sri Lanka released its roadmap for capital market development over the next three years yesterday.
Following a series of internal and external consultations, the roadmap was developed to include 10 key points including steps to expedite SEC Act amendments to be in line with IOSCO standards, encourage more public and private listings and promote educational programmes to improve awareness about prudent investment practices.
Further steps will also be taken to attract new foreign and local funds to broad base the market, whilst also developing infrastructure and the corporate debt market.
At present, 75% of Sri Lanka’s capital market is based around its equity market, whilst less than 1% of the country’s population is actively engaged in the stock market, a situation which the SEC is now aiming to change through its roadmap Acknowledging the fact that most, if not all, of the roadmap’s key items have long been articulated by many stakeholders, Chairman of the SEC, Nalaka Godahewa said, “None of these steps are new and in fact many of the initiatives are the same as those which the Colombo Stock Exchange had developed previously, but these are on-going processes and we hope to finish some of them within this year whilst others will be achieved over the 3-year timeframe.” Godahewa made the comments at a specially organized joint press conference with the participation of the Colombo Stock Exchange, Colombo Stock Brokers Association (CSBA), Unit Trust Association and the Margin Providers’ Association yesterday.
When questioned about what specific measures the SEC would be taking in the implementation of its roadmap, Godahewa responded, “The first specific measure that we have taken is in organizing this conference because we feel it is important to share information so that the media can then take the right information to the public. At present there is less retail confidence and I believe that is because of the fact that there is too much of a focus on mistakes and that is misleading as the general public does not get an idea of the bigger picture.”
“We will therefore be organizing more educational programmes, seminars and newspaper articles to generate a higher degree of awareness amongst the public,” he added. Meanwhile, when queried as to whether the Present Chairman and Acting Director General of the SEC are facing any interference in carrying out their work, as proclaimed by the two former SEC Chiefs who resigned, both officials stressed that so far there hadn’t been anything of that nature that impeded them carrying out their work.