Capital Market Development: Prudent Economic Policies a Must
By Ishara Gamage
A strong government, the political will and prudent economic policies are a must if the capital market is to prosper, Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) Chairman, Viraj Dayaratne said yesterday.
“We can say we have all of that. The government has demonstrated its commitment towards the development of the capital market with the allocation of capital markets to the subjects assigned to State Minister Nivard Cabraal,” he said.
Addressing a special market opening ceremony organised by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), with the patronage of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, to mark the Digitalisation of the Sri Lankan Stock Market, the SEC Chairman appealed to large companies who are yet to be listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange to come forward and get listed.
“We need to increase the depth and breadth of the market – to the SMEs and Startups, it is your turn as well – we have relaxed the listing requirements and there is huge potential to raise much needed capital – and to investors both local and foreign – come and invest – the valuations are great,” he elaborated.
The launch event themed ‘Hyper-Leap to the future’ was also attended by the State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle and other senior invitees from Foreign Missions in Sri Lanka, Stock Broker Firms, Listed Companies and the Sri Lankan Business Fraternity.
“Whilst digitalisation creates that paradigm shift towards the development of the market, that by itself is not adequate and there is much more to be done”, he said.
A Joint Committee comprising representatives of the SEC and the CSE was formed with the objective of identifying measures and mechanisms required for the Colombo Stock market to be run digitally. A strategy to digitalise all stakeholder touch points, enabling end to end connectivity electronically with an interactive user interface and user experience was also agreed upon by the Committee.
The first phase of this initiative was to convert paper-based statements to electronic form and to facilitate companies listed on the CSE to pay dividends electronically to shareholders. As part of the second phase of the initiative the CSE and SEC yesterday launched a transformative digital offering through the New CSE Mobile App, an end-to-end digital on boarding and online account opening feature that removes the barriers to entry for new investors and enables any eligible prospective investor around the country to open a CDS account to trade in the market without the need to visit a branch office.
The event also featured a further revamp of CSE and SEC digital touch points including new CSE, SEC and CDS websites which were re-launched with user-friendly interfaces to offer browsers an informative browsing experience covering trading information, regulatory information as well as investor -centric information maintained by the CDS. An investor education and financial literacy -focused YouTube Channel to be managed by the SEC was also launched to create modern and digital learning opportunities for prospective investors, keeping with the growing demand for easily accessible learning opportunities.
With the new online account opening feature offered by the CSE Mobile App, prospective investors can start investing immediately after opening their account while also being able to monitor their accounts from anywhere and at any time they want.