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Investors in 85 countries well acquainted with strategic benefits of a Sri Lanka presence

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The 2021 Invest Sri Lanka Forum held through June 7-9 provided potential investors with comprehensive coverage of policy topics and deep dive sessions on sectoral opportunities for investments as well as details on the enabling business environment in Sri Lanka.

The forum was enriched by a broad spectrum of investor testimonials from across FDI and portfolio spheres, and contributions from a galaxy of international speakers.

Further, investment opportunities and concessions in various economic sectors as well as the favorable climate for Sri Lankan capital markets, in particular equities, were examined over several sessions.

The forum had been organised by the Board of Investment, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Colombo Stock Exchange.

This Asia’s first ever virtual investment forum was held with foreign participation of 2,200 from 85 countries and 2,500 local participants.

The conference consisted of 118 insightful sessions with 108 local and foreign dignitaries, leading entrepreneurs and global experts joining to share information on foreign investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

The forum was inaugurated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who shared his vision for the spawning of a decade of growth culminating in the doubling of the economy.

The President pointed to the pivotal role local and foreign investors could play in the rapid transformation of the economy to reach a per capita income of US $ 8,000 within the current decade.

In inviting global investors to participate in Sri Lanka’s decade of growth, President Rajapaksa encouraged investors to seize the window of opportunity to leverage on Sri Lanka’s strategic location as the gateway to South Asia, high quality human resources, unique tourism potential, progressive policy environment and inherent political stability, among other factors.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurating Day 2 of the forum stated that Sri Lanka has embarked on a wide range of development initiatives to encourage investment and has created a conducive business environment.

Day 3 was inaugurated by Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister for Money and Capital Markets and State Enterprise Reform.

Country specific sessions designed for investors from China, Japan, India, South Korea, United Kingdom, European Union and United States were also held during the forum.

SLIF 2021 was supported by the following partners and sponsors: International Finance Corporation (Knowledge Partner), Boston Consulting Group ( Strategic Partner), Port City Sri Lanka (Flagship Project Partner), Microsoft (Technology Partner), HSBC (Banking Partner), Asia Securities (Platinum Sponsor), Shangri-La (Hospitability Partner), SLASSCOM (IT-BPM Sector Partner), FairFirst Insurance (Insurance Partner), Dialog ( Communication partner), Citibank (Gold Sponsor), CAL (Gold Sponsor), NSB Fund Management (Silver Sponsor), CT CLSA (Silver Sponsor), NDBIB (Silver Sponsor), Melstacorp (Bronze Sponsor), Softlogic Stockbrokers (Bronze Sponsor), CIMA (Skills Development Partner) and CFA Sri Lanka (Investment Professionals Partner).

Forum sessions can be accessed via www.invest-srilanka.lk in replay mode.

 

 



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Business

CSE planning new product lines to attract investors in greater numbers

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By Lynn Ockersz

The CSE is planning to attract a greater number of investors to the stock market this year through the introduction of some new product lines. In order to increase the choice of instruments available to equity investors, the CSE intends to focus in the immediate term on instruments, such as, stock borrowing and lending and regulated short-selling, CSE CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike said.

The latter instruments would help in generating more liquidity and trading among equity investors, not only in instances when the market is on its way up but also in a declining market as well, CEO Bandaranaike told The Island Financial Review in an exclusive interview recently.

The CEO also said that the CSE is aiming at leveraging the corporate debt market through the initiation of some new products. For example, Green Bonds, Perpetual Bonds and the facilitation of secondary trading of corporate bonds via repo trading.

Asked to indicate as to how these instruments would help the bourse going forward, Mr. Bandaranaike said that stock borrowing and lending, for instance, would facilitate and enable regulated short selling which will have the effect of increasing liquidity and trading among all categories of equity investors.

This will create opportunities for traders to make use of market volatility. Besides, investors holding long term portfolios could lend their stock and earn an interest with least effort on their part.

Asked to elaborate on the importance of Green Bonds, the CEO said that institutional investors in particular are currently focusing on ESG projects; that is, investors that are sensitive to environmental, social and governance concerns. Accordingly, the CSE would be catering to some important investor needs through the latter projects.

Meanwhile, in response to the question on how the digitization initiatives of the CSE have helped in ushering a more robust share market in Sri Lanka, CSE’s Chief Information Officer Chandrakanth Jayasinghe said it is the aim of the CSE to give progressive digital exposure to investors. There are two dimensions to be considered here the CIO said. First, more and more important features have been added to the CSE’s digital mobile App over the last two years.

The CIO added: ‘A revamped mobile App is now at hand to enable quicker and informed investment decisions. All the information required by the investor is now available via this App to enable him to enter the market. For example, we are linked to the Department of Registration of Persons. Digital on-boarding and digital signing etc have been enabled via the app. On a full digital basis investors can now interact with the CSE.

‘The investor is now connected to the CDS E-Connect via the CSE and the investor could access his/her stock portfolio, for instance, and access his/her monthly statements. They could also make changes to their profiles such their address changes via the mobile App. Research reports of brokers could be accessed by the same means, nominations could be effected through the same mechanism. It’s a total change: a 360-degree info hub has been created through the App.

‘Secondly, the CSE is a more agile digital organization. For instance, most of our back-end functions are fully robotized. AI is used in many operations. We use AI for compliance operations.

‘We are saddled with very much less paperwork. Over 90% of all account openings are effected through our mobile App. Most paper-based formalities have been done away with.’

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SriLankan Airlines unveils new and improved mobile App

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SriLankan Airlines has unveiled a new and improved mobile app that is designed for optimum user-friendliness. The enhanced app will afford customers greater ease and flexibility in managing their flight bookings, purchasing value-added services, enrolling for a FlySmiLes account and performing a variety of other tasks.

The new app provides greater autonomy for Customers through added features that are exclusive to the app. Customers will be able to choose their in-flight meal; reserve seats; change travel dates and sectors; buy value added services such as excess baggage, travel insurance and duty-free items; and check-in for flights well in advance.

The ability to manage flight bookings, even while on the move, remains entirely with passengers who will be empowered to exercise greater control in shaping their journey independently and dynamically. Customers’ in-app experience is inclined to be further enhanced with the new ‘My Trips’ feature. My Trips will organize and present important information that a customer requires for an upcoming flight in a timely fashion on the app’s homepage.

The homepage includes other up-to-minute information on the flight schedule and allows users to search and stay on top of the departure and arrival times of flights. Customers can also stay updated and not miss out on the latest deals and promotional fares.

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Brandix Manusathkara Thilina 2022

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Brandix Apparel Ltd., gave hope to 16,824 children of the Brandix family by gifting them school essentials including stationery and schoolbags necessary for the new school year, under its ‘Manusathkara Thilina’ 2022 initiative recently.

 Understanding the current need to support our team members, especially during the current crisis of rising stationery costs, the children of 10,933 Brandix Associates were recipients of Brandix’s unstinting efforts to inspire and support education for all. The 2022 programme is being held for the 7th consecutive year where children from pre-school to Grade 13 received stationery packs.

Malika Samaraweera, Group Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Brandix Apparel noted, “The beginning of the new school year is eagerly anticipated and exciting for all students. However, we realise that our employees, who are the backbone of our enterprise, are facing a daunting challenge to provide their children these essential items. We firmly believe in taking care of our communities and this year’s Manusathkara Thilina programme ensures these children have the tools and opportunity to learn and grow.”

 Begun in 2016, the Manusathkara School Essentials initiative seeks to drive home the importance of education among the children of Brandix employees. To-date, over 37,000 children have benefitted from the programme. The educational hampers gifted to the children comprise of stationery and other school necessities, enabling their success for the foreseeable future.

With the aim of driving social sustainability, the inspired team at Brandix continues their work towards Equal Opportunity and the Right to Education for All. Recognising that today’s challenges are wide-ranging and incredibly tough for many families, the school essential packs will enrich the lives of the beneficiary children and sustain their school education.

Supporting Sri Lanka’s aspiring youth towards continuity in their education, Brandix has also initiated an annual scholarship scheme under its ‘Manusathkara University Scholarship’ programme. Children who are high performers in the Advanced Level Examinations within the Brandix Model Villages are awarded scholarships to pursue their higher education and contribute towards Sri Lanka’s future workforce. The ‘Model Village’ concept was developed by Brandix to support the wellbeing of communities within a 10km radius of the company’s facilities.

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