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‘Colombo Stock Exchange booms again’



by Dr. Darin Gunesekera


International news report the CSE as a top performing stock exchange in 2021. It is heart warming to Sri Lankans.

The headlines cover much. This exchange in its modern form is now 35 years old. Its related Acts and Regulations, 34 years. In these years there have been fairly minor changes as names, etc only. The substantial structure and Regulatory Act have been the same.

The reason is that these were formulated on the basis of economics after some long hands on study. I decided to do it based on economics only. I added the usual cover gloss of current law. The President at the time gave complete freedom. Actually when shortly afterwards I did the Kenyan system, President Moi gave freedom also. Even when I replaced totally what consultants had then just finalized; after all Harvard Consultancy could not complain that they were left behind by Kenya’s own Yale. And after over 30 years except for allowing trade electronically, there is no substantial change.

And, as in Colombo, great success.

This subject, regulating stock exchanges, was begun by William O’Douglas, a Yale Professor. As he himself said later, and his students carried on as tradition, he had no interest in the economics. He thought the US economy well based. He brought in what he later excelled in as a Supreme Court Justice, rights or human rights. That is the old style in Securities Law.

The modern era was actually pioneered by Dr Tan Cheng Theng, about ten years my senior. He was the best student at Harvard Law School and the editor of the Review. When Lee Kwan Yew went on his sabbatical tour of universities, he recruited Tan to do the “SEC” of Singapore. He did so with some brilliant leaps in where there had been darkness before.

I asked him what he considered important, now for him ten years later, as I wished to incorporate the best. He just expressed disgust of the stockbroking and investment banking business. He told me firmly that he was now a “born again” Christian. I understood the sentiment.

But my great uncle had impressed on me that mathematics was at the heart of the courts of law, which is where the People got their law. And mathematics I knew. I had been tasked to take Professor Smale’s ideas on Economics Maths in Law as a teacher briefly at the Yale Law School. So I knew this did not work easily. So I looked for help. My grandfather had been the leading police officer in the British era and anyway the police are the agents of the law. Tyrrel Gunatilleke was then the leading person in the police. I questioned him and he refused to answer but finally relented and told me how he caught criminals. I had the maths, the real maths. That tight construction was possible. And for all securities, including government, which is now the mainstay of the Kenya exchange.

When in Kenya, I was able to reposition the stock exchange so that it had a much greater social force through these constructions and I am very happy that the exchange has climbed to high regard with simultaneous issues in London and that the lead company on the exchange has over 15BUSD in market value.

Colombo, with no change in laws and regulations has the same capacity. But it must address India. Not long after I left CSE, I visited India where I had as an economist some relations with the civil servant in charge. I noticed that his still old fashioned markets had only one third more than Colombo in capital raising as of then. For all India.

This age is actually now coming to an end. It is often said in America that “Finance and Economics is not Rocket Science”. That is true. Elon Musk has discovered it too. Rocket science is still true to WW2 roots. Real Science and tech are far ahead. Any economics student today has to study Maths and stats beyond a rocket scientist.

Three years or so ago I gave a lecture and spent discussion time in NASA talking of my wealth and poverty field. Our field is there in the Beyond Rocket Science.

Not actually because of high speed trading. The youngster who did the largest trading platform, since sold to Chicago, said to me, “Doctor you don’t understand the economics”. But I learnt and now know. The electronics chases the agio, something Dr Tan as a Christian would have found apalling.

The subject is becoming different.

The moment we move to a transactions base rather than stocks, like the competitive agricultural market from Adam Smith demand and supply to rice or wheat in silos, a conceptual change occurs. It is no longer the market for apples. Actually demand and supply, which never existed except as a construct, now de-constructs. Ask yourself, have you ever seen demand or supply prices. No these change all the time. Where is the economist’s price ?Where is there more market volatility in Colombo today ? At the CSE broker’s office or at Keells Veggie counter ? Clearly at Keells. No CSE stockbroker sells tomatoes at 23 today, at 9 in two days time and then 17 in another two days !

Similarly a share which I used to have in my hand and may be photoed and sent to my mother is now some computer entry or slash hashtag, /***/***/*. Actually like a Dialog bill. You just have to go along. But do you want to?

By newspaper accounts, there were some proposals called MCC. The problem unattended to inside that is one long overdue in hitting developing country markets. The problem is that IT, or conversion to IT identification, will hit with anti-commons or gridlock through our systems from the top. Every computer program redefines the finance. And do we need or want it ?

I just cannot believe it. We want only what is good economics. Not consultant fit talk that hides loss of rights, loss of economic status and dumbing down of owners.

A simple example. The new sets of MIT graduates mainly who have the over all skills and others in Russia and UK and EU who are using SMART skill sets are doing work on the ground and becoming Associate Profs and quietening as the next wave comes.

One in East Africa work spoke with me., and also a young man yet of the old consultancy type. The latter was deeply concerned with water and sanitation. He had got aid agencies to build the sanitary seats but was having difficulty with usage. I suggested he look to the specialists in seat usage. He blinked. I just fumbled with my airline ticket. He got the message. He soon had frequent flyer…

The other was an anti-commons gridlock studies student who did a SMART project in the Congo. I had also talked with the Governor of the Congo Ituri Province virtually, this was in Covid time. And he went on at some length on Covid difficulties. I told him that at least he has no one saying his capital is the Ebola Capital anymore. He smacked his head. “I had clean forgotten”. That is the Congo for you. Well this student approached the municipal council of Kivu which bordered Ituri. Kivu is a typical Congo town. Kivu is in the Congo river basin. This council had problems of tables and chairs, no trash vehicles, etc. The tech kid ignored these trivialities, maths variables of the global set after all are what count. He just set up a SMART system. Suddenly Kivu found itself thick in development. The kid got them to be, without saying so, SMART security issuers and so moving at whatever level of money was around. No multi million dollar system.

Trucks in that area still hard link, that is rod link not chain link, to each other so that they can go through the potholes in those muddy roads. Different to Sri Lanka dirt roads but called the same. They fully immerse to over roof top level in the pot hole mud and just roar their engines and roll on.

Now their finance at least is up to the mark in mathematical construction.

It is a diverse world. So far, the old rod-linked economics has seen our stock exchange weather it all. I hope the Colombo Stock Exchange and its regulator all the best in the future.

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AkzoNobel honours students of City School of Architecture at Colour Awards 2021-2022



– Annual design competition celebrates young design talent for fourth year running

AkzoNobel Paints Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., in partnership with the City School of Architecture (CSA), honoured the winners of the Colour Awards 2021-2022 at the CSA Graduation & Awards Ceremony held recently at the BMICH.

A partnership initiated four years ago by the producer of Dulux paints in Sri Lanka, the annual competition hopes to raise the bar of design and innovation standards and encourage young creative talent as important future players in a fast-evolving industry.

Every year the prize invites first year students from the City School of Architecture to face a new colour and architecture-themed design challenge. After several mentoring sessions by the academic staff of CSA -namely Archt. Nela de Zoyza, Archt. Anurangi Mendis, and Archt. Shayan Kumaradas-, participants are then required to produce a final submission and present it to a high-profile selection committee.

This year, each submission was reviewed by a star-studded panel of industry specialists, including Mr. Romesh de Silva, Ms. Charmaine Mendis, Archt. Shevanthi Basnayake, Archt. Kosala Weerasekera, Archt. Rehan Thillakeratne, and Archt Nandika Denipitiya, together with the Managing Director of AkzoNobel Paints in Sri Lanka, Mr. Wasantha Heenatigala.

Following a rigorous judging process, the five most impressive submissions were chosen, with winners being conferred a generous cash reward, as well the prestige of having being recognized by the pioneers of the paint manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka and the world.

Speaking at this year’s ceremony, Upendra Gunawardhana, Head of Marketing of AkzoNobel Sri Lanka commented, “As a leading global paints and coating company, we are convinced that in helping develop and highlight emerging talent, we are also playing a crucial role in shaping the future of the industry. With the Colour Awards we hope to provide a platform through which university students can hone their design thinking skills on an industry level, while at the same time also consistently set benchmarks of innovation for the years to come.”

“Over the years AkzoNobel has played a significant role in supporting the educational growth and creative development of our students through its Colour Awards,” said Archt. Professor Lal Balasuriya, Head of School of the City School of Architecture. “Here, young design aspirants are given the chance to test the limits of both, their creative ingenuity and industry acumen, and we’re sincerely grateful to AkzoNobel for this transformative opportunity.”

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Emirates and Dilmah Tea celebrate 30 years of partnership



Dubai, UAE, May 2022 – Emirates and Dilmah Tea have enjoyed a longstanding partnership of brewing the finest teas on board and in Emirates’ airport lounges around the world for the past 30 years. To mark the milestone on International Tea Day, all Emirates’ passengers received a special tea box when they flew from Dubai a few days ago.

 In addition, First Class passengers on flights to the UK were treated to a food pairing, while passengers in the Emirates’ Onboard Lounge were offered Dilmah Tea infused mocktails. The special tea pack for all passengers who flew on Saturday contained three different flavours: Ceylon Breakfast, an Emirates exclusive Turmeric Coconut and Vanilla tea, and the popular Earl Grey with Honey.

 In First Class, Emirates offered the Brilliant Breakfast, one of the many gourmet teas created by passionate Tea Maker and Dilmah founder, Merrill J. Fernando. This was paired with the afternoon tea service on board.

 Moroccan Mint Green tea was exquisitely paired alongside Labneh – a tangy and creamy yoghurt – with roast vegetables for vegetarians. While Dilmah’s Sench Green Extra Special tea – renowned for its delicate taste with herbal finish with a touch of sweetness –  was served with sushi, particularly seafood.

 “Emirates focuses on dishes that emphasise fresh ingredients of the highest quality. We pay special attention to every detail and the quality of the tea we offer our customers is no different. The fact that we have served Dilmah Tea for 30 years across all our cabins is proof of its quality and our satisfaction with the perfect cup of tea.

“We have an exceptional partnership with Dilmah and we have grown in tandem for the last 30 years. Over 9.6 million tea bags are used each year across our fleet with more than 10 tea varieties on offer, including an exclusive Emirates Signature Tea served in First Class,” said Thomas Ney, DSVP, Service Delivery at Emirates.

 Dilhan C. Fernando, son of Dilmah Founder and CEO of the family company explained: “For 30 years we have grown a tea inspired collaboration with Emirates, offering customers a uniquely Emirates experience in tea. To celebrate the Pearl Anniversary of our partnership in tea, we made a tea that is as rare as it is magnificent. A seasonal tea with extraordinary finesse, handpicked from tea bushes prepared for months and crafted into a numbered limited-edition tea.

“Our co-operation with Emirates truly presents the luxury in fine tea, and – in our tea mocktails and food pairings – contemporary, tea inspired hospitality. For the last 30 years we have created these unique moments for Emirates customers either on the ground, in its lounges around the world, or at 40,000 feet and this year is no different. We are excited to have the special 30-year blend on board Emirates’ fleet.”

A world-class partnership

Millions of world class cups of tea have been poured for Emirates’ customers since the airline’s partnership with Dilmah began in 1992.

The airline brings the finest products on board through long standing partnerships worldwide, including support for local suppliers and artisans. Emirates takes the Dilmah brand to more than 130 destinations on six continents.

 The teas offered on Emirates are chosen by popularity amongst customers, catering to different preferences like minty or citrus infusions as well as by looking at tea drinking trends. With an increasing focus on wellness amongst customers, the airline recently introduced a new tea in its airport lounges – Turmeric, coconut and vanilla featuring antioxidant properties.

 On board, the most popular tea in Economy Class is the Dilmah Ceylon Black Tea while passengers in First and Business Class favour Moroccan Mint and Breakfast Tea. Emirates serves a selection of six teas in Business Class and its airport lounges, and a further six teas in First Class.

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Wing Commander (Retd.) D. Pradeep S. Kannangara elected president, Industrial Security Foundation



The Industrial Security Foundation (ISF) which acts as the sole organization in Sri Lanka to represent the Private Security industry having incorporated by an Act passed in the Parliament, Act No. 51 of 1999, elected Wing Commander (Retd.) Pradeep Kannangara as its President for the years 2022/2023 at its 30th annual General Meeting which was held at the PIM Auditorium in Borella. Wing Commander Pradeep Kannangara was appointed President while 14 other members were appointed to the Executive Committee, strengthening the ISF in order to drive and uplift the standards of the private security industry in Sri Lanka.

He has served on the ExCo consecutively since 2012 under four different presidents where he held the positions of Senior Vice President during the last three consecutive years. He has also been a committed member of the ISF and was awarded prestigious coveted FISF title due to his many valuable contributions to the organization and the Private Security Industry in Sri Lanka in 2012.

Wing Commander Kannangara’s journey into private security began after a successful career in the Sri Lanka Air Force for over 24 years where he served in many capacities finally being the Officer Commanding of the Special Air Borne Force. A recipient of the Ranasura Padakkama (RSP) Gallantry award for his bravery, sacrifices and service to the nation by the President of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka in 1990. He holds a Master’s in business management from the Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia too and serves as a Board Director in AB Securitas (Private) Limited in Sri Lanka and AB Securitas Bangladesh Limited.

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