From left: CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike, Fitch Ratings Lanka Country Director Maninda Wickramasinghe, CBSL Director Economic Research Dr. Yuthika Indraratne, National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Niroshan Perera, CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka and SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunerwardane
The ‘Invest Sri Lanka’ investor forum hosted in Sydney yesterday by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) in association with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) drew over 150 participants including institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals, Sri Lankans living in Sydney and other individuals with a business interest in Sri Lanka.
Making the keynote address at the event, National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Niroshan Perera urged the investors to recognize the enormous promise and potential of the emerging new Sri Lanka, built on the foundation of the government’s new agenda of administrative and economic reforms and ease of doing business.
“We expect to drive the nation towards achieving middle-income status, while maintaining a strong focus on sustainable economic growth and good governance,” the minister added.
Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Somasundaram Skandakumar speaking at the event, outlined that economic and social progress in Sri Lanka seen in recent times has been complemented by a renewed confidence in the country among the international community, especially in Australia.
SEC Director General Vajira Wijegunerwardane speaking at the event expressed his confidence of the market’s prospects beyond 2017 and said, “We are resolute and unwavering in our insistence on better, more facilitative regulation across the board and are committed to formulating new policies which will lay a solid foundation for the market, enabling it to grow to potential and to enter new frontiers: all this, while concurrently working on a wide complement of developmental initiatives.”
Speaking on behalf of the CSE, CSE Chairman Vajira Kulatilaka spoke about the opportunities in the capital market highlighting the comparatively low PEs and the diversification opportunity the Colombo Stock market offers. He urged the participants to consider the different debt and equity options on offer including the entry to Colombo through professionally managed funds.
The CSE chairman alluded to the rise in corporate earnings in the last quarter making a case for investors to make use of the current opportunity in the market and the potential for future growth. He also spoke about the focus on market development including the development of new products as a key priority.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka Director Economic Research Dr. Yuthika Indraratne outlined that the reforms undertaken and development strategies adopted will enable Sri Lanka to achieve the envisaged high growth trajectory. She also went on to express positive sentiments on several economic indicators, including real GDP growth, which is expected to improve in 2017 and the overall budget balance, which is also expected to improve this year. Fitch Ratings Lanka Country Head Maninda Wickramasinghe stated that the development projects presently taking place in the country present a number of opportunities for foreign investors, especially in the context that such projects demand long-term financing.
The series of events now moves to the state of Victoria, with an event exclusive to Australian institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals hosted at the International Chamber House Melbourne on March 23 at 8:30 a.m., followed by an evening event from 6:00 p.m. onwards at the Novotel Melbourne Glen Waverley.
The final stop in the series of events will take place at the Fickling Convention Centre in Auckland on March 25 from 4:00 p.m. onwards. Sri Lankan stockbroking firms and unit trust companies are also presently in Australia participating in the events.