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Amãna Bank Board fortified by four versatile directors



Experienced chartered accountant Tishan Subasinghe, fintech entrepreneur Omar Kassim, legal luminary Mohamed Adamaly and Islamic finance legal professional Paul Mercer recently joined the Board of Directors of Amãna Bank.

The appointment of Omar Kassim is in the interest of the Bank’s former chairman Osman Kassim, who retired after completing the maximum 9 year period of directorship of a Licensed Commercial Bank as per CBSL directions, but continues to be amongst the top 10 shareholders of the Bank. Tishan Subsasinghe replaces retired senior director Jazri Magdon Ismail who also retired after completing the regulatory 9 year period while Mohamed Adamaly was appointed as the replacement to Harsha Amarasekera PC who resigned from the Board in the beginning of 2020 in lieu of his imminent retirement having served the board since its inception. Paul Mercer’s appointment fills the vacant position of the second nominee director from ICD, the Bank’s strategic shareholder. While Tishan Subasinghe will function as a Non-Executive Independent Director, the trio of Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer will serve as Non-Executive Non-Independent Directors.

Commenting on their appointment the Bank’s chairman Asgi Akbarally said “We are honoured to have our Board of Directors strengthened by four versatile directors in Tishan Subasinghe, Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer. Their collective experience and business insight will be of valuable benefit in guiding the Bank towards achieving its strategic goals.”

Tishan Harendranath Subasinghe, is a Fellow and Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) and the Managing Director and Joint Managing Partner of Moore Stephens Consulting (Private) Limited and Moore Stephens Aiyar respectively. Before that he was the Head of Audit and Assurance at BDO Partners. He is also the chairman of Sanasa General Insurance Company Limited and is also a Council Member of the University of Moratuwa. His profession also expands overseas where he had work experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Botswana spanning several years. These were supported by the international training that he has undergone in USA, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Malaysia, Indonesia and Rome. As a member of CA Sri Lanka, Tishan has served as the chairman of the Annual Report Awards Committee, National Conference Committee and Examinations Committee. He also held the post of Vice President of the Young Chartered Accountants Forum (YCAF). Tishan is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA-USA) and has an MBA in Finance by the University of Colombo with a Gold Medal and has earned an LLB (Hons.) degree from the Buckinghamshire New University. He is also a visiting lecturer at several government universities and had also conducted international training in Maldives and Bhutan.

Omar Kassim is a fintech focused technology entrepreneur, who specialises in conceiving, building, and exiting interesting technology ventures. Omar is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nomod, a London headquartered startup building a highly efficient, scalable, business banking platform to empower millions of entrepreneurs and startups around the world to start and grow their businesses with inventive payment and banking tools. Omar also Co-Founded and was the Chief Executive Officer of Esanjo, a trading, investment, and technology business based in Dubai, where he remains a member of the Board. Omar previously founded and exited JadoPado, a highly regarded e-commerce technology platform addressing the Middle East, North African, and South Asia. Omar holds a BsC in Electronics Engineering and Business Studies from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Mohamed Adamaly is a leading legal professional in Sri Lanka having a wide Civil Law practice in the Original Courts and Appellate Courts, with a focus on Commercial Law, Labour Law, Insurance Law, and Banking & Credit related laws. Adamaly also specializes in Investment Advisory, Business Set-up/Restructuring Services and Corporate Acquisitions. Adamaly graduated from the Faculty of Law University of Colombo with Honours while also achieving First Class Honours from the Sri Lanka Law College before being admitted as an Attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1994. Adamaly has served as a visiting lecture at the University of Colombo and at the Sri Lanka Law College. He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM UK) and is a leading lecture for CIM and formerly for CIMA, in Sri Lanka. Due to his vast legal expertise coupled with his business acumen, Adamaly holds and has held directorships in several public and private companies including in the David Peiris Group, Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC, Assetline Leasing Company Limited and Sinwa Holdings Limited. Adamaly is also a leading thespian in the country and has received the National TOYP Award for his contribution to Drama and Literature.

Paul Mercer is an English law qualified lawyer with over 20 years of experience working in banking, particularly in Islamic Finance. Paul has extensive experience in corporate governance and has used his skills and experience as a Director on a number of boards representing the Kuwait Finance House Group. Paul was the Chairman of Bahrain Investment Bank, Ibdar Bank, and as Chairman of the Board, he oversaw a three-way bank merger involving Elaf Bank, Capital Management House and Capivest. In recent years Paul has been actively engaged on Islamic Banking regulation in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and the implementation of capital and governance requirements. While working as a lawyer in private practice and as in-house legal counsel at Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), Paul has advised on a full range of legal issues relating to Islamic Finance and helped in the preparation of transactional documentation designed to comply with Islamic Law. Paul is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is registered as an arbitrator on the GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre Roster of Arbitrators.

With the recent appointments Amãna Bank Board of Directors constitute as follows : Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally (Chairman), Rajiv Nandlal Dvivedi, Pradeep Dilshan Rajeeva Hettiaratchi, Aaron Russell-Davison, Mohammed Ataur Rahman Chowdhury, Syed Muhammed Asim Raza, Khairul Muzamel Perera bin Abdullah, Tishan Harendranath Subasinghe, Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer. Retired directors Osman Kassim, Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail will continue to serve as trustees on the Bank’s unique flagship CSR venture, ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.

Amana Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated (S&P, Moody’s & Fitch) multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. In June 2020 Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka declared an upward revision of the National Long Term Rating of Amãna Bank to BB+(lka) with a Stable Outlook. Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust. 

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Nations Trust Bank records steady performance in 1st half 2022 amidst challenging market conditions



Nations Trust Bank PLC recorded steady performance at the end of 1H2022, achieving Operating Income of LKR 16.6Bn at a year-on-year growth rate of 50%. Despite increased impairments on loans and expected losses on Sovereign Debt Instruments, the Bank recorded a PBT of LKR 4.6Bn and a PAT of LKR 2.7Bn for the 6 months ending 30 June 2022.

Commenting on 1H2022 results, Hemantha D Gunetilleke, Director & Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Considering the challenging economic environment, our primary objective was to ensure we provide uninterrupted banking and service excellence to our customers across our Branch network. Our advanced digital banking solutions have proved to be extremely useful in our customer reach with digital transactions reaching 89% of all banking transactions.”

During 1H22, the Bank has also focussed on identifying and managing emerging risks while delivering its strategic objectives set out for the year. Nations Trust Bank also strengthened the deposit franchise to ensure the Bank remained highly liquid in terms of both LKR and Foreign Currency. The 1H22 results demonstrate a steady financial performance, sound credit quality and strong Capital Adequacy Ratios of Tier I Capital at 12.24% and Total Capital Adequacy at 14.58%, well above regulatory requirements.

Taking the external economic environment into consideration, Nations Trust Bank has increased impairment provisions on loans, advances and Sovereign Debt instruments, resulting in a 416% YoY increase in impairments. The Bank has also undertaken stringent cost management initiatives resulting in Cost/Income dropping from 42% to 31% YoY, despite external inflationary pressure.

“With PBT at LKR4.6Bn and PAT at LKR 2.7Bn at the end of 1H22, the Bank is continuing to strengthen reserves and Capital. Overall, we are very confident of overcoming the present external challenges and continuing to support the banking needs of our customers as they build for the future,” added Gunetilleke.

Nations Trust Bank PLC serves a diverse range of customers across Consumer, Commercial and Corporate segments through an island wide network of 96 branches. The bank is focused on digital empowerment through cutting-edge digital banking technologies, and pioneered FriMi, Sri Lanka’s leading digital banking experience. Nations Trust Bank PLC is an issuer and sole acquirer of American Express Cards in Sri Lanka with market leadership in the premium segments.

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Versatile business and people’s professional Ken Vijayakumar elected president CIPM SL



Ken Vijayakumar, a versatile business, and People’s professional, currently holding the position of Deputy General Manager – Human Resources, Administration, Purchasing and Sustainability at A. Baur & Company (Pvt.) Ltd was elected as President of CIPM Sri Lanka, the Nation’s leader in human resource management, at its Annual General Meeting held recently.

Prior to his appointment as the President of CIPM Sri Lanka, he held office as the Vice President in the preceding year and serving for 7 years in the CIPM Executive Council including as the Honorary Secretary and Honorary Treasurer in his tenure at CIPM, making him the ideal choice to navigate CIPM in these challenging times.

Vijayakumar counts over 30 years of experience in the field of human resource management and general management with prestigious appointments at Lankem (Ceylon) Ltd, Watawala Plantations, MAS Holdings, Keells Plantations, Lanka Equities, Brandix, WNS/AVIA, Delmege Forsyth, and Waters Edge Ltd. where he held managerial and senior managerial positions. He also held the position of Regional Head of HR for Malaysia at Good Hope Asia (Holdings), a diversified conglomerate.

“Developing HR professionals to be resilient to face any type of crises and challenges, spreading CIPM’s much acclaimed education courses to the neighboring countries and thereby opening a new avenue to infuse USD/foreign currency to the country, making representation to the Government of Sri Lanka to amend the labor laws to take advantage of the gig economy such as part time employment, multiple employment contracts, flexible work arrangements, and positioning HR professionals as partners for business while ensuring more C-suite/Boardroom representation are some of the key areas that I will be working on during my tenure” said Ken Vijayakumar – President CIPM Sri Lanka.

His expertise spans multiple industries with exposure to Plantations, Apparel Manufacturing, Business Process Outsourcing/Knowledge Process Outsourcing, Palm Oil Refineries, Hospitality and FMCG.

Vijayakumar is also a Senior faculty member of CIPM Sri Lanka since 2008. He has a Bachelor of Arts qualification from the University of Peradeniya and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Post Graduate Institute of Management (PIM) of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and holds membership in CIPM Sri Lanka and the Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM).

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AI 2021 successfully concludes with winners showcasing innovative solutions for sustainable living



The Hack:AI 2021 Hackathon, powered by SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, successfully concluded recently with the winners showcasing ground-breaking innovative solutions for sustainable living.

In the Schools category, Team ‘Calori’ from Gateway College, Colombo emerged the winner, while Team ‘Prostasia’ representing the University of Colombo was adjudged the winner in the University category.

Prabhath Dahanayake, Chief Marketing Officer, SLT said, “The challenge of the Hack:AI 2021 Hackathon was to unveil sustainable solutions while addressing real-world problems. As the national ICT solutions provider, SLT-MOBITEL believes this competition has inspired solutions to improve people’s lives and promote a healthy planet. We are proud of all the participants and diverse teams who have sparked new ideas through machine learning and artificial intelligence. All the teams deserve special recognition and our sincere thanks for their hard work and contribution.”

Prabhath Mannapperuma, Director, STEMUP Educational Foundation added, “Through the Hack:AI competition we sought to inspire both university and school students to use technologies such as AI and Machine Learning to solve real world problems. The competition will also enable future generations to gain an understanding on the importance in driving sustainability and building start-ups and technology innovations around it.”

Hack:AI 2021, provided participating youth, a platform to design ground-breaking innovative solutions to solve real world problems using technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning.

The participating categories – Schools and University, were provided similar problem statements under Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) goals such as Good Health and well-being, Quality Education, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Responsible Consumption and Production. The competition offered a forum for the young innovators to build solutions using data science and machine learning technologies, tackling some of the challenges related to the selected SGDs, solving related issues and driving social impact.

The Hack:AI 2021 Hackathon was organised by STEMUP Educational Foundation, a not-for-profit association driven to engage students in STEM careers and skills, together with the Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka.

SLT-MOBITEL as the platinum sponsor of the competition is proud of its role to harness talent, while supporting innovation and advancement of ICT in the country.

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