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Monday, 3 June 2013

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SEC / CSE promoting diaspora investment to capital markets

Officials of Securities exchange commission, Colombo stock exchange, Colombo stock brokers association and the unit trust association yesterday addressed nearly 100 Sri Lankan professionals working in UAE as an investment promotions event specifically targeting the Sri Lankan Diaspora. The event was held on 1st June 2013 at the Le Meridien Hotel in Dubai.

Delivering the key note address Dr Nalaka Godahewa paid a tribute to the Sri lankans working abroad whose remittances contribute USD 6b of foreign earnings of the country. Foreign expatriate remittances have grown 16.8% in 2012 . Another interesting trend is the growth in the professional category of expatriate employees which has grown by 33% in 2012.

Though remittances by Sri Lankans working abroad contribute almost 10% of the GDP they are not yet given the due recognition as a potential investor group for the country.

The Diaspora investor forum has two objectives according to the SEC chairman. Firstly to guide the professionals working abroad on investment opportunities in securities instruments such as equities and bonds.

Secondly to provide sufficient information about the economic growth prospects and investment opportunities in Sri Lanka so that Diaspora can act as Investment ambassadors for the country.

Krisan Balendra provided an overview of the Colombo Stock Exchange while Mr Priyantha Fernando, commission member of SEC made a presentation on opportunities in the Bond market. They were followed by two presentations from Colombo Stock Brokers association and Unit Trust Association. The welcome address was delivered by Mr M M Abdul Raheem Counsel General of Sri Lanka in Dubai & Northern Emirates.

Most of the professionals who attended the event mentioned that they have been working abroad for more than 15 years and are in fairly high income categories but this was the first time an effort was made by a government body to explain the investment opportunities available for them in Sri Lanka. Most of them are investing in foreign currency markets which are not giving the type of returns available in the Sri Lankan capital market.

The members of the Colombo Stock Brokers Association and the Unit Trust Association got the opportunity to establish contacts with the Diaspora members while many received invitations to come and address subsequent gatherings of various business associations of Diaspora members in Middle East. On June 3, Sarath Amunugama Senior Minister Monetary Corporation and Deputy Minister Finance will be delivering the key note address at an Investment forum specifically targeting UAE based foreign fund managers. This event will be at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Dubai and it is the second of the 4 road shows planed by Colombo Stock Exchange for this year as part of the 10 point action plan of SEC.

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