The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday expressed concern over the resignation of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Thilak Karunaratne, saying “it is sad to see the SEC lose yet another strong chairperson, and in such a short period too.”
Karunaratne stepped down after repeated attempts by powerful traders to scuttle probes and investigations by the regulator against market manipulators and insider dealers. His resignation comes after his predecessor Indrani Sugathadasa resigned in similar circumstances last December.
IMF’s Country Director for Sri Lanka Koshy Mathai told TimesOnline in email comments that from all credible accounts, Mr Karunaratne and his team were taking ‘exactly the right steps’ to ensure that stock market participants obey the rules.
“And as the the Colombo Stock Exchange chairman has rightly said in the past, making STRUCTURAL changes in rules on broker credit is not the right response to CYCLICAL downturns in the market,” he said.
“In any country, it is only with a firm set of regulations and an active regulator to enforce them that foreign and domestic investors will have confidence that the stock market is indeed a level playing field for all and not just designed for the benefit of a select few. This is an important issue, as development of the capital markets is a key priority in ensuring Sri Lanka's continued growth and prosperity,” Dr Mathai said.(Story is corrected to read ... as the Colombo Stock Exchange Chairman ... instead of ... as the SEC Chairman ...)