The Invest Sri Lanka Investor Forum hosted in Sydney today 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. The interest in Sri Lanka was evident from the lively interaction the participants had with the Sri Lankan delegation at the Question and Answer (Q&A) session, with topics ranging from opportunities in the stock market, foreign investor participation in future infrastructure developments, the ease of investing in the Sri Lankan stock market and the future economic potential of Sri Lanka.
Making the keynote address at the event, Hon. Niroshan Perera the State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs stated “I urge you 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. On behalf of the Sri Lankan Government I would like to pledge our continued commitment to facilitating investments and stimulating the establishment of transparent and well governed institutions.” Stating that Sri Lanka is poised for a renewed drive of development, the minister added that the present Government envisions a globally competitive, export-led economy driven by revolutionary thinking and bold policies. “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.
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency 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. Adding to his remarks the High Commissioner invited members of the audience to visit Sri Lanka to experience first-hand, the benefits of playing a part in a resilient growth story.
Director General of the SEC Mr. 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 Colombo Stock Exchange, Chairman of the CSE Mr. 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.
Dr. (Mrs.) Yuthika Indraratne, Director of Economic Research at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka 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.
Mr. Maninda Wickramasinghe MD and Country Head, Fitch Ratings Lanka, 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 move 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 23rd March 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 25th March from 4.00 p.m. onwards. Sri Lankan Stockbroking Firms and Unit Trust Companies are also presently in Australia participating at the events.
The events also feature several leading Real Estate developments in Sri Lanka in the capacity of event sponsors, including the Colombo Port City (Platinum Sponsor) One Galle Face by Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts (Platinum Sponsor) and the luxury apartment development by Altair (Corporate Sponsor).
Photo - (L-R) - CSE CEO Mr. Rajeeva Bandaranaike, Fitch Ratings Lanka Country Director Mr. Maninda Wickramasinghe, CBSL Director of Economic Research Dr. (Mrs.) Yuthika Indraratne, State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Hon. Niroshan Perera, CSE Chairman Mr. Vajira Kulatilaka and Director General of the SEC Mr. Vajira Wijegunerwardane.