CSE Annual General Meeting: Stockbrokers vote out Murtaza Jafferjee
By Ishara Gamage
Sri Lanka’s 15-member stockbroker community (full members) voted against the re- election of recognised economic and stock market analyst, Murtaza Jafferjee, who is a veteran free market think-tank head and the Chairman of JB Securities, to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Directorial Board during CSE’s recently-held annual general meeting, brokers told Ceylon FT.
“This is the second occasion he has been voted out by the stockbroker community during the CSE AGM. This is a situation that warrants interest with regard to the maintenance of the stock market’s integrity and transparency, as he has been recognised as a highly-independent professional,” they said.
Foreign investors are highly concerned about market liquidity and minority shareholder protection, segments for which Jafferjee tended to be a spokesman.
According to sources, the AGM was held to approve the re-election of Jafferjee, as well as former CSE Chairman, Ray Abeywardena, who is MD of Acuity Partners (Pvt) Ltd., to the Board of Directors, while also ratifying Asia Securities Chairman, Dumith Fernando as the CSE’s new Chairman.
However, although stockbrokers unanimously approved Abeywardena’s reelection to the Board, they asked for a secret ballot for Jafferjee’s reappointment.
Only two members supported to Jafferjee during this secret vote, while eight voted against him. Representatives of John Keells stockbrokers and JB Securities were not in a position to vote during this ballot due their unavailability to produce valid proxies to attend the AGM. One member was absent.
Therefore, the 15-member stock broker community has decided to meet on a future date to appoint a new member to the CSE board in replacement of Jafferjee.
The CSE board has nine directors: four appointed directors and five elected directors, representing stockbroker firms.
The four elected directors are currently Dumith Fernando (Chairman), Ray Abeywardena, Dilshan Wirasekara and Dimuthu Abeysekera. Additionally, four new directors have been appointed to the CSE by the Finance, Economy and Policy Development Ministry, namely former Central Bank Deputy Governor, C.J.P. Siriwardana, Ernst & Young Partner and former CA Sri Lanka President, Arjuna Herath, ICT legal pioneer, Jayantha Fernando, and civil law practitioner, Suren de Silva. Outgoing board member Jafferjee is the Chairman of JB Securities and has over 25 years of experience in capital markets across multiple asset classes. He serves on the Boards of Nations Trust Bank PLC and Serendib Hotels PLC as an Independent Director and also served on the Board of the CSE from August 2007 to July 2009.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of New South Wales, Australia and a Masters’ Degree in Financial Economics from the University of Colombo. As a CFA charter holder, Jafferjee makes an annual pledge to abide by the highest levels of ethics and professional conduct.