In a special conference summoned by him yesterday to express his views on the current situation of the Stock Market (which may be the longest business press conference in the history of Sri Lanka) he said that the country needs a strong regulator. There are reports to say that 17 investors are being investigated. ‘These should speed up and if they are found guilty the culprits should be even jailed,’ he said. “I don’t see any reason for these investigations to get delayed.”
He said more efficient and active officials too were needed at the SEC to guide the chairman. ‘They should be more efficient.’ He said that Sri Lankan stock market which was down for many years due to the war, picked up and unfortunately has once again lost momentum.
“We are concerned about this since it would have a negative impact on Sri Lanka's foreign investment,” he said. He said he has not individually invested in the CSE but has invested around Rs 1.2 billion through Divasa Equity. “We are a diversified company with interests in the media (Triad) hotels and other investments. He said that all stake holders should get together and pool ideas to revive the stock market. “They should not have personal agendas, or be petty minded,” he said.
The chairman of Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),Thilak Karunaratne resigned on Friday allegedly due to pressures from some investors who were under investigation by the CSC.
Karunaratne had indicated to media that he is under pressure from stock brokers to resign. Karunaratne, a veteran politician, assumed the post after former SEC chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa resigned last December sighting pressure from stockbrokers. Stockbrokers complain that tougher market regulations imposed by the SEC was the reason for the dwindling performance of the Colombo Stock Exchange. The ‘price band’ was one issue they said.
Earlier in the week Ceylon Chamber of Commerce expressed concern over Karunaratne's statement that he intends to resign by Friday.
“The resignation of two SEC chairpersons within a period of less than one year will be viewed with concern by investors, corporates and other stakeholders,” the chamber said in a statement.