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Indian tycoon’s daughter seeks gender equality in $5-billion company



By S Venkat Narayan,

Our Special Correspondent

 NEW DELHI, October 11: Ms Valli Arunachalam, the eldest daughter of former Murugappa group chairman M.V. Murugappan, has issued legal notices to Ambadi Investment Ltd (AIL) and Murugappa family members, in her fight for representation on the board of the group’s holding company.

 “I can hereby confirm that following careful and thorough deliberation and in consultation with our independent advisers, we have decided to seek legal remedies with respect to our ongoing efforts to settle my father’s will,” said Arunachalam on Thursday.

 “Accordingly, we issued legal notices to the Murugappa family members, Ambadi Investments Ltd management, the company and other people in relation thereto.”

 “It was a big step for us and a very unfortunate one, as we have worked tirelessly over the course of the last three years to bring about an amicable settlement of my father’s interests in AIL. With the family voting unanimously to reject my appointment to the AIL board, we have seemingly reached the end of the road for an amicable settlement,” she added.

 Arunachalam’s move comes after AIL investors—largely her uncles and cousins—rejected her bid to become a non-executive director of the company at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) last month.

 In an interview on September 24, following the AGM, Arunachalam said she was considering all options, including legal avenues, in what she considers a battle for gender equality.

AIL is the holding company of the INR370-billion ($5-billion) family-run conglomerate in which Arunachalam’s father held an 8.15% stake, which he left to his wife and two daughters.

 “Given how the Murugappa family has treated our family branch over the past three years, we have no confidence that our substantial stake in the family business will be safeguarded by them. Perhaps most confounding to us is that the Murugappa family has attempted to project their stand as principled and righteous,” she said.

 “With only female heirs, the historically male-dominated family business is effectively asking that my family assume a second class standing in AIL without any of the rights or privileges enjoyed by other families (many of whom have equal economic interests),” she added.

 Ms Arunachalam added that a considerable portion of her late father’s estate is tied to AIL, and it is unreasonable to expect her family to relinquish control and visibility over these holdings to the broader Murugappa family. “We have complete faith in the judiciary and are emboldened by some of the recent decisions. We are confident that justice will prevail.”

 A Murugappa Group spokesperson declined to comment.

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Union Assurance empowers its policyholders by introducing free COVID-19 life coverage



Union Assurance PLC being one of the largest insurance solution providers in Sri Lanka has further established their commitment towards the nation by staying true to its promise, ‘Your Life, Our Strength’. In turbulent times such as COVID-19, the company has taken initiative to persevere and adapt by responding to customers’ needs irrespective of the unanticipated circumstances presented.

The free COVID-19 cover has been reinstated to support both existing and new policyholders to ensure additional protection during these uncertain times. The cover provides a free death cover up to a maximum of LKR 1 million per policyholder. This free cover is valid for a period of one month commencing from 02nd November 2020 to 01st December 2020.
Union Assurance was also recognized as one of the first life insurance companies to offer hospital cash benefits for quarantine treatments since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka. The company therefore assures all its valued policyholders this initiative would be continued in which hospitalization per day claims directly resulting from COVID-19 will be considered from 20th October to 31st December 2020.

Amidst grave adversity Union Assurance strives to provide its unwavering commitment in offering the best in class protection coverages to its policyholders while ensuring that their families are financially empowered to face any challenge and uncertainty.

Jude Gomes, Chief Executive Officer of Union Assurance stated, “The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health, economic and social crisis and has affected people from all walks of life. We offer this timely protection cover free of charge to provide our policyholders the added peace of mind that the future of their families will be secured during these uncertain times. The specialty of this cover is that it is not just limited to our existing policyholders but is also offered to new customers and thereby giving Sri Lankans access to secure the future of their families.”

To obtain more information about this free COIVD 19 cover, call the Union Assurance 24-hour hotline on 1330, email:; or chat with the company on
Union Assurance is the oldest private life insurer in Sri Lanka, and is a member of the John Keells Group, Sri Lanka’s largest listed conglomerate. Union Assurance completes over three decades of success in the industry with a market capitalization of Rs. 18 Bn, a Life Fund of Rs. 38 Bn and a Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) of 434% as at August 2020. Set to empower the Sri Lankan Dream, Union Assurance offers Life Insurance solutions that cover education, health, protection, retirement, and investment needs of Sri Lankans. With 76 branches and an over 3000-strong workforce, Union Assurance continues to invest in people, products, and processes to remain agile and responsive to emerging changes in the Life Insurance industry.

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Seylan Bank partners with Mastercard to facilitate MasterCard Payment Gateway Services



Seylan Bank, the Bank with a Heart, recently partnered with Mastercard to integrate MasterCard Payment Gateway Services (MPGS) – a technology platform to enable easy and secure acceptance of a wide range of digital payment methods for Seylan customers.

As the need for digitization of banking products and services grows globally, banks are continuing to evolve their Internet Payment Gateways (IPG) to introduce new technologies offering heightened customer convenience and security of digital transactions. By partnering with Mastercard and facilitating the MPGS platform, Seylan customers, merchants, and industry partners will benefit from a range of features, delivering an enhanced user experience.

Commenting on this, Chaminda Senewiratne – Head of Digital Banking Channels at Seylan Bank said “The MasterCard Payment Gateway Service will transform digital transactions, further eliminating the need for cash payments. We at Seylan Bank, are proud to partner with Mastercard, one of the world’s leading payment platforms to offer our customers the MPGS service. Our customers can now experience an elevated, secure, reliable, and fast digital payment process, making the payment gateway a desirable channel giving merchants a chance to take their businesses global and accept payments from customers through the gateway.

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AIA Wealth Planner Krishan Dassanayaka internationally honoured



AIA Insurance’s Wealth Planner, Krishan Wasantha Dassanayaka, has been honoured by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) with an invitation to serve on the Membership Communications Committee (MCC) as Country Chair for Sri Lanka, AIA said in a news release.

The MCC is a network of more than 400 members worldwide who are responsible for promoting MDRT and communicating information to current and aspiring members, companies, and other industry organizations and reporting the needs and concerns of members to the MDRT Executive Committee and MDRT headquarters in the USA.

It is a global and independent association that is internationally recognised as the standard of excellence in life insurance and financial services. MDRT has an overall membership of 72,000 from over 500 companies in 70 countries. Its members are required to generate a certain level of premium, commission and income, and demonstrate professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service.

AIA said Dassanayake’s was an outstanding achievement both personally and professionally and one which has brought great pride to person and organization.

“With this prestigious new appointment, Krishan will work with the global MDRT team for innovative ideation, groundbreaking implementation and achieving high-quality results,” the release said.

Having joined AIA Insurance as a Wealth Planner in 2003, he has always been a top performer and source of pride to the organisation and had won a host of national awards including the Golden Eagle (2009) and Silver Eagle several times as well as being recognized by AIA as a ‘Premier Wealth Planner’ for six straight years and as a ‘Supreme Wealth Planner’ for four years running.



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