Archive | Banking & Finance


IMF approves US $251.4 to Sri Lanka

Posted on 08 December 2017 by admin

Daily Mirror reports the IMF Executive Board completed the third review of Sri Lanka’s Extended Fund Facility arrangement on Wednesday (6), enabling the disbursement of US$ 251.4 million to the country.

In a statement yesterday, the IMF said the Executive Board completed the third review of Sri Lanka’s economic performance under the programme supported by a three-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement. “Completion of the review enables the disbursement of the equivalent of approximately US$ 251.4 million, bringing the total disbursements under the arrangement to the equivalent of approx. US$ 759.9 million,” it said.

Sri Lanka’s three-year extended arrangement was approved on June 3, 2016, in the amount of about US$1.45 billion or 185 per cent of quota in the IMF at the time of approval of the arrangement.

The statement said Sri Lanka government’s reform programme, supported by the IMF, aims to reduce the fiscal deficit, rebuild foreign exchange reserves and introduce a simpler, more equitable tax system to restore macroeconomic stability and promote inclusive growth.

Following the IMF Executive Board’s discussion of the review, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director said Sri Lanka’s performance under the Fund-supported programme has remained broadly on track since the second review.

“Macroeconomic and financial conditions have been stable, despite a series of weather-related supply shocks. The authorities remain committed to the economic reforms under the programme and have undertaken measures to improve government revenue and accumulate international reserves. Going forward, it is important to build on the progress made and accelerate reforms to further reduce fiscal and external vulnerabilities,” he said.

“Fiscal performance has been satisfactory and all targets until September were met. The new Inland Revenue (IR) Act will make the tax system more efficient and equitable, and generate resources for social and development programs. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka’s high debt burden, large gross financing needs, and weak financial performance of state-owned enterprises increases the importance of further fiscal consolidation. Timely progress in structural reforms, including tax administration and energy pricing, will support fiscal consolidation,” he said.

He also said the inflation and credit growth remain on the high side and maintaining a tightening bias for monetary policy is recommended until clear signs emerge that inflation pressures and credit expansion have subsided.

“Macroprudential tools should also be used to help rein in credit growth and head off systemic risks. While financial soundness indicators remain stable, financial sector supervision and the AML/CFT regime should be further strengthened,” he said.

Mr. Furusawa said along with efforts to deepen the foreign exchange market, it is important to further accumulate reserves and enhance exchange rate flexibility to reduce Sri Lanka’s external vulnerability. “Structural reforms are also needed to enhance competitiveness and promote inclusive growth, including measures to improve trade and investment regimes,” he said.

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Sri Lankans allowed to invest US$200,000 outside country – Economy Next

Posted on 29 November 2017 by admin


Nov 29, 2017.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka's new forex law has allowed an individual to invest 200,000 dollars outside the country, in their lifetime, a partnership 300,000 dollars, but an unlisted company could invest 500,000 US dollars a year. Sri Lanka ended draconian laws against individual investments abroad, under then Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, who relaxed many controls, which are continued under a new simplified exchange control low.

A listed company in the Colombo Stock Exchange could invest up to 2.0 million dollars a year.
The outward investors could buy shares, units, debt securities, and sovereign bonds.
A partnership or company setting up an office overseas could also take out 300,000 US dollars a year.

The funds have to be remitted from an outward investment account. The limits could be exceeded by the use of capital gains.

Sri Lankan firms could in general invest any amount to set up offices or subsidiary with specific central bank approval.

Sri Lanka has exchange controls because a currency board was replaced in 1951 with a soft-pegged central bank which printed money and generated foreign exchange shortages, high inflation and currency collapses. (Colombo/Nov28/2017)

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BUDGET 2018 in Sri Lanka to be presented November 9, 2017

Posted on 09 November 2017 by admin

The budget for the financial year 2018 will be presented in parliament at 3 p.m. by Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera.

This is incidentally the first budget presented by Minister Mangala Samaraweera after being appointed as the Minister of Finance.

Budget 2018 is the third budget of the government of good governance.

The Budget Appropriation Bill 2018 was presented in parliament yesterday by State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne.

Thereby, the state’s estimated total expenditure for 2018 amounts to Rs. 3,982 billion – 46% increase in comparison to last year’s government expenditure.

State revenue for the year 2018, is estimated to be at Rs. 2,175 billion.

A sum of Rs. 1,807 billion is expected to be collected through state and foreign sources, to suffice the budget deficit.

The defence budget remains the largest with an estimated Rs. 290.7 billion.

Expenditure heads for the President and the Prime Minister remains at Rs. 9.98 billion and Rs. 1.77 billion respectively.

Vehicle policy: all vehicles to be eco-friendly by 2040

November 9, 2017   03:43 pm

By Sanchith Karunaratna – Courtesy: Adederana.

Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera in his Budget speech today (9), stated that all vehicles in Sri Lanka will have to be eco-friendly by 2040 as part of a ‘Green initiative’ adopted by the government to promote eco-friendly vehicle usage within the country.   

He further stated that all state owned vehicles will be hybrid vehicles by 2025 as part of the Green initiative.

Relief will be provided to all consumers of electric vehicles as the import tax for electric vehicles will be reduced by Rs.1 million. It was also decided to impose a super luxury tax of Rs.2.5 million will be imposed on all super luxury vehicles. 

The Minister stated that the import tax on three-wheelers will be increased by Rs.50,000 and that any youths who already own a three-wheeler will be provided with an opportunity to sell such vehicles to countries like Bangladesh. 

It was also stated that the import of vehicles without airbags will be banned as a result of rising safety concerns. 

Keeping in line with the ‘Green initiative’, the SLTB will also go green as Rs.500 million will be allocated to introduce eco-friendly buses to the SLTB.  

Minister Samaraweera further stated that a carbon tax will be introduced as follows,

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Asia’s Largest Investor Forum Comes To Sri Lanka

Posted on 18 October 2017 by admin



Craig Ryder

Craig Ryder – Courtesy: RoarTech

“I have one trick when it comes to making investment decisions in startups in Sri Lanka,” began Rajan Anandan, Vice President of Google of South East Asia and serial Angel Investor, whilst announcing the Venture Engine (VE) 2017 winners. “I call the business leader at 12pm on Sunday and if they’re enjoying a long brunch, I think “no way”, but if they’re in the office, I’m in!”

Events like this mark a new age of progress and development in Sri Lanka. VE is Sri Lanka’s signature annual Entrepreneurship Program and provides the country’s brightest innovators the opportunity to launch and grow their businesses with the support of some of the most inspirational figures in the region. The organisers, Asian Business Angel Forum (ABAF), are Asia’s largest startup investor forum and there is a real sense that this event will catapult Sri Lanka’s already thriving startup community into the stratosphere.

Yet, whilst the finalists are certainly a part of a vibrant community, there is a serious competition at stake. The twelve finalists, most of whom are first time founders and looking for seed-funding, are pitching for the opportunity of a lifetime. And by 9.30pm on day one of the event, after all the finalists had pitched, and the judges had beard-scratched their way to a head-spinning decision:

Roar Media, we are pleased to say, were announced winners of VE 2017.

Team Roar collecting the award on the night.

Inspiration From Above

The first morning kicked-off with five seasoned Sri Lankan business founders, all with organisations of 3-10 years old, revealing their backstories, their motivations, and providing inspiration on how to position oneself above the competition.

Lakmini Wijesundera, a serial entrepreneur with eighteen years experience in technology management and global distribution, introduced her burgeoning new company: BoardPAC. As the world’s most powerful organisations and governments make the shift from physical documentation to paperless technology, Wijesundera’s hyper-secure server and product enable board directors to access and share confidential documents to their iPads. Wijesundera, described, that in this case:

“Less is more. We have built one product company and that’s what sets us apart from our competitors. Dropbox and Microsoft are juggling multiple services, whilst we focus on one: Board Document Automation. And that’s what makes us the leader in the Asia-Pacific marketplace.”

Questions from the audience kept the experts on their toes.

Founder, Chairman and Chief Architect of WS02, Sanjiva Weerawarana humbly explained that most people in Sri Lanka and elsewhere probably would not have heard of his company or his trailblazing API, because it’s “middleware”. So although tens of millions of consumers use his products every day—“from every eBay user to any bus or tube commuter in London”—people never know because “it’s a behind the scenes company; two or three degrees removed from the consumer.” His unassuming approach has seen him step down as CEO of his own company in August 2017 and hire a Californian, Tyler Jewell, to take the reins on business development. “Mainly”, Weerawarana concedes, “because I’m a tech guy.”

The Finalists

Over 200 unique business plans were submitted in this year’s VE competition and the judges had whittled the finalists down to the twelve most sustainable ventures. The aim of the program is to ensure that every participant gains from the experience, regardless of funding; a notion encapsulated by Naafiah Saleem, co-founder offinalist Plush Box, a premium curated gifting service. At the event, she told Roar Tech:

“As we only began in January [2017], we were delighted to be selected for the final—a testament to the quality of our products.And although we have grown tremendously in the last few months, the Angels’ post-pitch questions have inspired me to revisit our business plan and rethink it with the intention of going international, sooner.”

All the presenters from the twelve finalists.

The finalists presented products and services spanning multiple sectors. In the health department, Ultimma Occta has developed appendage devices enabling visually impaired people to use smartphones to their fullest potential. In the entertainment arena, 444’s slogan of “Less Missing Out, More Going Out” perfectly captures the imagination of Sri Lanka’s nightlife scene as their concierge platform simplifies ticket bookings for movies, events, restaurants and more, all under one app.

The founder of 444, Amila Fonseka spoke to Roar Tech at the awards:

“We are extremely thankful for the Lankan Angel Network for creating a platform for us entrepreneurs to showcase our ideas to the world. We are proud to be recognised by ABAF as one of the top 10 startups in the Sri Lanka; the interest shown in the product by both local & foreign attendees has been overwhelming positive and further strengthened our vision of connecting Sri Lanka.”

Judges and angels testing a finalist’s pitch.

Winners of the Social Impact Entrepreneurship award was IgniterSpace, Sri Lanka’s first technology creative-space for kids. Charismatic leader Jehan Wijesinghe delivered an impassioned pitch and caught up with Roar Tech after picking up their award:

“IgniterSpace exists for a reason: to impact the lives of the future generation of kids, to make them develop creativity and inspire them to develop novel innovations to solve real world problems. Winning the Social Impact award from Aavishkar at VE 2017 is a great inspiration & motivation for us! This award has validated us as a startup with a tremendous amount of social impact. We hope to impact the lives of every single child in the world to make them more creative.”

Dr. Tan Steals The Show

“Hilarious”, “genius” and “a privilege” were some of the words used to describe Dr. Clarence Tan’s—former Ambassador for Singularity University and author and entrepreneur in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI)—keynote discussion.

Expounding on “exponential technology reshaping future startups”, Dr. Tan talked with enthusiasm about almost every innovation imaginable that will improve human life on earth and beyond: a hand-glove that can test women for breast cancer; 3D printing on a space-station allowing for onsite modernisation whilst out in space; and a robotic chef called “Moley” who has been trained by UK Masterchef to perfectly reproduce 2,000 dishes (although, Dr. Tan quipped, he would have preferred a French chef!).

Dr. Tan’s brilliant keynote presentation.

His explanation of the “4D” tenet of digitalisation is a masterclass in lucidity:

When a product or service becomes 1) Digital, it is information technology-enabled, allowing it to 2) Dematerialise (disappear), meaning it can 3) Demonetise (become free), empowering it to 4) Democratise (be accessible and available to all).

To illustrate his theory, Dr. Tan uses photography giant Kodak, “a household brand whose dominance in the photographic film business was unparalleled”, as an example. When Kodak led the innovation of the digital camera, it engineered its own downfall. Because whilst Kodak’s core industry was paper, ink and production of tangible photographs, they invented a digital product that would eventually render their service obsolete. Dr. Tan concludes, “the year Kodak went bankrupt [2012], Instagram sold to Facebook for $1 billion.”

Packed audience enjoying the competition and presentations.

Another of Dr. Tan’s observations is that “80% of GP’s will be redundant in the next generation” because of AI’s advances in the medical sphere. Arguably, best representing this idea at the event were startup Pregbuddy, who were second runners-up in the competition. Their product is a smart communication platform between doctors and chronic patients to provide faster care and reduce revenue leakage. Roar Tech spoke to one of PregBuddy’s founders, S.L. Sivareena:

“We’re super excited to be the second runner-up for Venture Engine 2017. We met investors from all over Asia which has opened up several investment and partnership opportunities. It has been a great learning curve throughout the program and we want to thank Lankan Angel Network and BOV for such an opportunity. We’re raising our first round of funding to build our technology across platforms and build partnerships across India.”

Plenty More To Discuss

Day two hosted a powerhouse of guest speakers.

During the discussion on “Regional Trends in Startup Investing” the pan-Asian panelists offered great insight into the startup ecosystems in their native countries. Putting Singapore firmly on the map, Dr. Mark Hon, Chairman of Business Angel Network Southeast Asia (BANSEA), described how 2016 saw the birth of approximately 4000 companies, only 800 fewer than startup behemoth, India. Contextualising India’s incredible growth potential, Padmaja Ruparel, “the woman behind the Indian’s largest angel network” (IAN), said they expect India to produce 10,000 startups in the year 2020. Whilst, Dr. Shuki Gleitman, Chairman of Guangzhou Israel Biotech Fund (GIBF), described how Israel, a country of only 8 million people, has cultivated a near perfect innovation ecosystem—comparable to Silicon Valley—with 62 accelerators, 40 co-working spaces, 60 “tech community” spaces and almost 70 investors.

Gaurav Deepak (centre), Brigitte Baumann (Right) and Pankaj Jain (Left) discuss “Driving Exits”.

On the “Sri Lankan Ecosystem in Context” panel discussion, Tony Weerasinghe, whose career spans founding MillennuimIT, then eChanneling, and latterly becoming the Director of London Stock Exchange Group, described how tech innovation is in the DNA of Sri Lanka. “Did you know”, he questioned, “that Sri Lanka was the first country to develop a smartphone app anywhere in the world?”

Mano Sekaram, chairman of Lanka Angel Network (LAN), who steered Sri Lanka’s flourishing tech industry into the $1 billion industry that it is today, said he was proud of seeing the second generation of innovators coming through and doing it even better.

Lahiru Pathmalal felt like “he was standing on the shoulders of giants”—specifically Weerasinghe and Sekaram—when he launched Takas, Sri Lanka’s foremost e-commerce business. In a conversation about disruptive technologies, Pathmalal described how e-commerce has changed the face of consumerism in Sri Lanka forever:

“In a demographic like Sri Lanka, where there is a high rural population, people did not have access to a large diversity of products, as flagships stores would ordinarily only be in Colombo, and maybe in one or two other cities. But Takas enables anyone from anywhere in the island to have access to thousands of products. This has disrupted the traditional market. Six percent of our top line comes from Uva Province, probably fuelled by a lack of access to products before.”

Let’s Celebrate!

The overriding feeling of the two-day event is one of celebration. A celebration of Sri Lankan entrepreneurs, business and software. And a celebration of Sri Lanka’s role in shaping the future of Asia and global business.

Great networking opportunity for everyone involved at Venture Engine 2017.

Capturing the joyous atmosphere was the spontaneous applause that followed random announcements of birthdays across the speakers and panelists: Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, BOV Capital Partner was first, then Satveer Thakral, CEO of Singapore Angel Network, and finally, Dr. Shuki Gleitman, on day two.

Australian Jordan Green, Chairman of ABAF, summed up the success of the event in the wider global context:

“The funding and intellectual support of Angel investors are key drivers of the entrepreneurial ecosystems that are growing all our economies. ABAF 2017 in Sri Lanka celebrates the Angel pioneers in this country and epitomises the cross-border reality that is the Asian Century.”

Cover Image. Sri Lankan Panel.

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Posted on 05 October 2017 by admin

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, The Times of Sri Lanka.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 189 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. Created in 1945, the IMF is governed by and accountable to the 189 countries that make up its near-global membership. The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944. The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The IMF's responsibilities: The IMF's primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries to transact with each other. The Fund's mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Jaewoo Lee visited Colombo during September 18-29, 2017 to hold discussions on the third review of the Sri Lankan authorities’ economic program that is being supported by a three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) . The program aims to support the authorities’ ambitious reform agenda to put public finances on a sustainable footing and create space for social and development program.


Jaewoo Lee, Mission Chief for Sri Lanka

At the end of the visit Mr. Lee made the following statement:


“The mission made significant progress toward reaching a staff-level agreement with the government on completing the third review of the EFF. Discussions will continue in October in Washington D.C. during the Annual Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank.

“Overall, macroeconomic performance has been mixed. Growth has been subdued and inflationary pressures have increased reflecting the drought since late 2016 and the floods earlier this year. Growth is projected to remain below 4.5 percent for 2017, and to rebound next year as agricultural production normalizes and infrastructure projects pick up. The current account deficit is projected to widen somewhat this year due to higher imports of food and fuel related to the drought and floods. Capital inflows continue, supported by improving market confidence from the progress in reforms. As weather-related supply disruptions dissipate, headline inflation is expected to stabilize in the mid-single digits.

“The mission commends the authorities for the strong efforts in implementing their IMF-supported economic reform program with all quantitative performance targets through end-June 2017 having been met and the landmark Inland Revenue Act (IRA) legislation passed by Parliament. Progress, on the other hand, has been mixed in implementing structural reforms—especially in relation to state owned enterprises (SOEs) and public financial management.

“Fiscal consolidation based on stronger revenues remains essential for reducing high public debt. To remain on this path, further broadening of the tax base is needed to fund the social and development spending in the 2018 budget. To this end, the focus should shift to the smooth implementation of the IRA through supporting regulations and manuals, efficient tax administration, and greater awareness and preparedness of taxpayers through media outreach and information dissemination. Strengthening debt management capacity and developing a medium-term debt strategy would also enable effective management of the debt burden going forward.

“The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) should continue to remain vigilant in monitoring inflation pressures and stand ready to tighten monetary policy if needed to contain inflation or credit growth. The CBSL’s drive towards gradually rebuilding reserves should continue. In this regard, the mission welcomes the CBSL’s commitment to develop a roadmap for flexible inflation targeting and a flexible exchange rate regime, which will require strengthening the legal frameworks for CBSL’s governance, improving market functionalities, and enhancing communication.

“An important priority is to accelerate implementation of structural reforms in public financial management and SOEs. Large financial obligations of SOEs pose fiscal risks and need to be managed by enhancing oversight of performance indicators, developing SOE-specific reform strategies, and following through on fuel and electricity pricing reform. The mission also welcomes the broad-based strategy for improving trade and investment climate, which will help bolster competitiveness and boost private sector-led growth.”

The mission met with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, Minister of Finance Samaraweera, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Indrajit Coomaraswamy, other public officials, and representatives of the business community, civil society and international partners.




State Minister/Finance Eran Wickramaratne lays red carpet for investors

Posted on 02 June 2017 by admin



  • Follows Mangala in wooing private sector 
  • Ranawaka calls on foreign investors to support Megapolis Project
  • Ravi K assures signed and sealed projects have State protection

 By Charumini de Silva

Newly sworn-in State Finance Minister Eran Wickremaratne on Wednesday wooed existing and potential foreign and local investors, inviting them to benefit from new business opportunities in Sri Lanka by banking on sound macroeconomics, fiscal management and a strategic geographical location.

Wickremaratne appeared to be on the same page as Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who during the inauguration pledged to pursue trade agreements with a commitment to Sri Lankan interests and pledged to work with industry stakeholders. 

Wickramaratne closely mirrored this message at the packed ‘Sri Lanka Investment & Business Conclave 2017: Growth through Partnerships’, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in Colombo.

“We are doing things to basically liberalise the economy, take it forward with more investor friendly policies,” he added.

In terms of sectors, he said tourism, education, manufacturing, BPO/KPO and logistics had a tremendous investment scope while noting that agriculture and fisheries were underinvested areas.

Noting that Sri Lanka has 12 export processing zones (EPZ) across the island, Wickremaratne noted the way forward was to create more zones  under a public-private partnership basis which not only allows foreign investors manufacturing opportunities but also allows them to partner in the zone as well.

He said Colombo will be one of the most liveable cities in South Asia which is cleaner, orderly and comfortable where lifestyles can be enjoyed. “Relocation, head offices, regional offices — I think in Sri Lanka there is a wonderful opportunity.”

The Minister also said that leading economies like China and India have recognised the strategic location of Sri Lanka to be a great logistics hub in this part of the world, whether it is in the air or sea.

Furthermore, he stated that if foreign investors were planning to expand into knowledge-based areas there were sufficient professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants in Sri Lanka as the country boasts of the most literate workforce in the region.

Commenting on the booming tourism sector, Wickremaratne said there is tremendous potential to develop ancillary services. “Tourism is not just hotels but recreation, theme parks and ancillary services.  There is a lot of scope there and Sri Lanka is open for it.”

While the Government aims to be the most competitive economy in the South Asian region, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka emphasised the urgency to boost the country’s economy with proper investments in physical, social and economic infrastructure.

In this context, he said the strategic policy framework of the Government would primarily revolve around key elements of strengthening governance, equitable economic growth and infrastructure development and improving competitiveness.

 “Foreign investment is an important element in Sri Lanka’s economic growth. A liberal and reformist investment climate, fast-growing economy, fast implementation of infrastructure network, global and local political recognition, strategic location and a transparent system of procurement are the positive factors which suggest that the investor community will consider Sri Lanka for investment,” Ranawaka added.

He called on foreign investors to support Colombo’s Megapolis Project and to be a part of the development process of the country.

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake assured that once the investment projects were signed and sealed they would not be taken away despite governmental changes.

“One thing we will guarantee it is that this is rock solid. What is given will be never be taken. That is the level of consistency, coherency we can give to foreign investors,” he added.

Karunanayake said the new foreign policy is basically commercial diplomacy that is brought in to ensure Sri Lanka pushes its exports from the current $ 11 billion to $ 20 billion with product and market diversification.

“I am sure with the motivation that we put into our local and foreign investors, we will be able to see a much more robust approach before too long,” he stressed.


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Bank Of Ceylon Chairman To Be Removed Over Shady Deal

Posted on 25 December 2016 by admin

by Sujith Mangala de Silva – Courtesy: The Sunday Leader

The Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) is likely to be removed from his post over a shady deal which had caught the attention of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Bank of Ceylon Chairman Roland C. Perera and several others are to be removed from their posts over the sale of Seylan Bank shares owned by BOC. The sale of the Seylan Bank shares by BOC was reversed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week after it was found that proper procedure was not followed.

BOC had sold 13 million shares of Seylan Bank to a Japanese buyer.

An inquiry has been launched to see if the deal was part of a bigger financial fraud. The deal had taken place without the knowledge of the President, Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

BOC Employees’ Union President S. P. Jayaratne said that deals of this nature must be conducted with the approval of the President, Prime Minister, Finance Minister or subject Minister Kabir Hashim as the BOC is a government owned institution.

The government owns 22.5 per cent of Seylan shares while the remaining shares are owned by the BOC and Sri Lanka Insurance.

The sale of the BOC shares reduces the stake the government has on Seylan Bank.

Sources said that the BOC has not been earning the expected profits under the current management and this has been of concern to the government.

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Nanda Fernando is MD at Sampath Bank

Posted on 13 September 2016 by admin



Nanda Fernando


Sampath Bank has appointed Nanda Fernando as its new Managing Director. Fernando was the Chief Operating Officer, prior to this appointment.

With a banking career that spans 35 years, he also function as a Director of SC Securities, a subsidiary of the Sampath Group of Companies.Having dynamically contributed to the strengthening of Sampath Bank for almost 29 years, his appointment as the new Managing Director will see the application of multidisciplinary competencies to further establish the Bank as a benchmark financial institution in Sri Lanka.

An Associate member of the Institute of Bankers in Sri Lanka, he possesses a Master’s Degree in Business Administration specialiszing in Marketing.

He is also a qualified Four Bead Leader Trainer and a past District Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Scouts’ Association. 

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Visa opens up branch in Sri Lanka to boost electronic payments

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

L to R - Anthony Watson, Country Manager, Sri Lanka, Visa_ Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa and T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa

L to R – Anthony Watson, Country Manager, Sri Lanka, Visa_ Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa and T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa

Aug 25, 2016 (LBO) – A global leader in payments technology, Visa today announced the opening of a local office in Colombo and the appointment of Anthony Watson as the Country Manager for Sri Lanka.

Visa has been present in Sri Lanka since 1989 and has consolidated its position as a market leader.

Speaking at the media briefing Group Executive of Visa Asia Pacific, Chris Clark said the payments industry is undergoing a rapid change with new technologies and innovations changing the way people pay and get paid.

“Visa is at the forefront of this change collaborating with financial institutions, merchants, governments, startups and developers across the world to create the commerce experiences of the future,” he said.

“We value the long standing relationship we already have with our clients and partners in Sri Lanka and are excited about the future, to bring new innovations to Sri Lanka.”

Speaking at the event Group Country Manager of Visa India and South Asia T.R. Ramachandran said Sri Lanka is a priority market for Visa in South Asia and one where we see tremendous opportunity for the growth of electronic payments.

He said by establishing a local office and appointing an in-market country manager we’ll be better positioned to support our clients, partners and merchants to realize this growth and deliver the benefits of electronic payments to consumers and businesses across the country.

Visa Country Manager Anthony Watson said he is going to focus on growing the electronification of commerce as we transition cash payments to electronic payments across the country.

“In doing so, we will be providing Sri Lankan people with easier and more secure access to their funds, supporting local businesses to grow, encouraging tourism and helping to stimulate economic growth,”

“I’m excited to be on the ground here in Sri Lanka and I’m looking forward to working closely with our clients, businesses and the Sri Lankan government to achieve this vision,”

“I am both honored and excited to be establishing Visa’s office in Sri Lanka as I believe electronic payments can have a truly profound impact on both the people of Sri Lanka and the country’s economy.”

Watson has been associated with Visa since 2009, joining as the Senior Client Relationship Manager handling Visa Processing services in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2011, he moved to Visa’s Singapore office to lead the prepaid product development and infrastructure across Asia Pacific and then headed the Product Development & Strategy for the same region, before his appointment as Country Manager Sri Lanka.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments.

It operates one of the world’s most advanced processing networks VisaNet which is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants.

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Once again, BOC among World’s Top 1000 Banks and ranked No. 1 in Sri Lanka

Posted on 20 July 2016 by admin


UK magazine ‘The Banker’ revealed Bank of Ceylon as the No. 1 Bank in Sri Lanka among the World’s Top 1000 Banks in its July 2016 issue. Untitled-1

BOC has won many accolades and recognition in the recent past including the title ‘Strongest Bank’ in the country given by ‘Asian Banker’ for the strength of its 2015 balance sheet, the Gold Award as the winner of the National Business Excellence Awards Ceremony and being named the ‘No. 1 Brand in the Country’ for the eighth consecutive time.  It was able to reach its second trillion by gaining Rs. 1 trillion deposits in 2016. 

The first trillion in assets was achieved in 2012 and BOC is set to reach its third trillion in the near future. Breaking its own record set by its 2014 profit before tax of Rs. 20.3 billion, it earned the highest-ever profit made by a single Sri Lankan business entity, which is Rs. 25.3 billion PBT in 2015. This was a 25% growth over the previous year. 

BOC owns a strong balance sheet comprising robust savings deposits in both local and foreign currencies and currently holds the largest foreign currency deposit base. Based on the Stable Outlook of the Bank, Fitch Rating Lanka ranked the Bank of Ceylon at AA+ (lka), which is the highest rating awarded to a local commercial bank and ICRA (lk) awarded it an AAA rating, which is the highest credit quality rating issued by ICRA Lanka.

With nearly 77 years of trust and stability in the Sri Lankan banking industry, the Bank of Ceylon has led the industry, shaping its landscapes on par with the international banking industry.  

‘The Banker’ is one of the premier banking and finance magazines in the world and has been so since its inception in 1926. The benchmark Top 1000 Banks list has been compiled by the ‘The Banker’ since 1970. Its database holds comprehensive financial data, news feeds and executive contact data on the leading banks in every country and its ranking sets the industry standard for measuring bank performance and strength.       

“Being able to hold the title as the leading Sri Lankan bank in the World’s Top 1000 Banks list is truly a privilege and an honour. As always we have moved forward on a steadfast track as an exemplary bank in the country’s financial industry. It is my duty to thank all our stakeholders including our customers and the Government of Sri Lanka at this juncture for encouraging us throughout these years to reach such heights,” stated BOC Chairman, State Counsel Ronald C. Perera.   

“We have been always driven by the motive of bringing the best out through every task we carry out as the leading bank in the country. It is my duty to thank my committed staff for all their hard work that was put in to get achievements such as this,” stated BOC General Manager D.M. Gunasekera. 

BOC has understood that it has to go beyond mere multichannel strategies to approach today’s customer and to deliver the service they expect. Therefore it has developed more agile operating models that are customer-centric and provide profound solutions for all our customers coming from all walks of life. 

With the expansion in banking services it enriched its network connecting all branches and all other customer touch points through a single system at the end of 2004, enabling customers to transact through any branch seamlessly. 

Adding much sophistication, BOC began its ‘transformation’ process in 2014 to deliver a best-in-class banking service to its customers. Under this project the bank has established state-of-the-art branches to extend its services to its customers. 

BOC introduced the ‘SmartZone’ concept in selected branches across the country, enabling its customers to enjoy 24-hour access to banking services. These SmartZones consist of cash deposit machines that enable the customer to deposit, transfer or withdraw money at any time. 

Addressing the social need of sophisticated and secure digital channels for banking, BOC upgraded its online banking facility along with its newest feature ‘SmartGen,’ where the traditional passbook has been replaced through emails and SMS alerts and also enabling the customer to walk into any BOC branch without producing identification to transact as the customer image is stored in the centralised system at the time of opening the account. 

Being more customer-centric, BOC opened up its Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter accounts, enabling its customers to approach and feel the bank more closely.   

As of today, BOC’s local market reach consists of 626 branches, 15 SME centres and 550 ATMs and CDMs which are spread throughout the country and currently serve customers ranging from individuals from all walks of life to corporate businesses. 

BOC is the Sri Lankan bank which pioneered the penetration of the international market. It has branches in Chennai, Male and Seychelles and a banking subsidiary in London which was established in 1949. It also has representatives in several countries, especially those in which many Sri Lankans work as expatriates.

BOC has also built a foreign correspondent banking network with over 860 foreign banks and exchange houses. The commitment and dedication BOC has shown towards its country and people over these years have made it truly the ‘Bankers to the Nation’.

Courtesy: DailyFT (Sri Lanka)

Daily FT

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