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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Main opposition of Sri Lanka claims investments losses of retirement fund amount to over Rs. 12 billion

Main opposition of Sri Lanka claims investments losses of retirement fund amount to over Rs. 12 billion

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Redbulls

Redbulls
Director - Equity Analytics
Director - Equity Analytics
Jun 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) says that the private sector pension fund, the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) has lost over Rs. 12 billion in its investments in the Colombo Stock Exchange.

UNP parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva in a statement says that the EPF share portfolio has made losses to the tune of a staggering Rs 12.2 billion.

"Notwithstanding the almost daily statements by the Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) defending its investments in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) violating its own published 'Investment Guidelines' it has now been revealed that the EPF share portfolio has made losses to the tune of a staggering Rs 12.2 billion," the statement notes.

According to Dr. de Silva's statement, the figures are from the list of EPF investments in the CSE as at June 20, 2012 tabled by Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama as a partial response to a question raised by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe under Standing Order 23(2) on June 21, 2012.

The losses have been made on just the six stocks listed on the Secondary Board of the CSE in violation of the guideline that investments should be made only on 'blue chips' has resulted in a loss of Rs 2.7 billion or 22.5 percent of the total loss, the statement points out.

Of this amount, the largest losses are from the investments in Laugfs amounting to Rs. 1.8 billion, Vallibel One amounting to Rs. 740 million and Lighthouse Hotels amounting to Rs. 87 million. Some of the other massive losses are from the investments in LOLC Rs 1 billion, Browns Rs. 945 million, Ceylon Grain Elevators Rs. 713 million and Galadari Hotels Rs. 470 million.

Issuing a statement last month the EPF Department of the Central Bank said the EPF invests around 93 per cent of its funds in government securities, and around 6 per cent in the stock market and the investments in the stock market are made with a long term focus to generate profit and enhance the Fund's capital base over the longer term.

"The EPF maintains its equity portfolio as a pool of investments in diverse sectors and the Fund's performance depends on the performance of different companies and the market values of the shares of companies within the portfolio at different times, depending on global, economic, political, financial, sector-specific and company-specific, factors," it said.

According to the EPF Department the policy has resulted substantial gains in the EPF earning 2.5 billion rupees as capital gains and dividends in 2011 and nearly 1.6 billion rupees so far in 2012.

Dr. de Silva says the UNP will continue to push for an independent investigation in to the transactions of the entire EPF stock portfolio and thereafter for legal action in the event persons are found to have committed securities fraud.

Meanwhile, he said the UNP would assert that officials of the EPF Department of the Central Bank be summoned urgently to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to answer queries on alleged improper transactions at the CSE over the last two years and general queries for the last six years.
http://www.colombopage.com/archive_12A/Jun28_1340892768JR.php

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