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Old 07-05-17, 09:23 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default New CSE Chairman, Ray Abeywardena

Ray Abeywardena appointed CSE Chairman

By The Nation
The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) last week announced that Ray Abeywardena was appointed as the Chairman of the B...

New CSE Chairman, Ray Abeywardena
The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) last week announced that Ray Abeywardena was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CSE with effect from May 5, 2017. Abeywardena succeeds Vajira Kulatilaka, who steps down as the Chairman on the conclusion of the customary three year term.
Ray Abeywardena is the Managing Director of Acuity Partners (Pvt) Ltd and has over 30 years of extensive experience in the Sri Lankan Capital Market, primarily as a Stock Broker and since 2009 as an Investment Banker. Having begun his career as a Trainee Stock Broker in 1986 at Forbes & Walker Ltd, he progressively moved up the corporate ladder and was appointed as the Managing Director of the firm in 1998. In 2001, he was instrumental in setting up DFCC Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd and served as Managing Director/CEO of the Firm. With the formation of Acuity Partners (Pvt) Ltd in 2009, he was appointed CEO of the Firm and since 2012 serves as the Managing Director. Abeywardena has participated in many Investment Forums both locally and internationally and has served on various sub-committees of the Colombo Stock Exchange. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Colombo Stock Exchange in 2013 and presently serves on the sub-committees pertaining to Market Development, Risk and Audit and Rules. He is also a past Chairman of the Colombo Stock Brokers Association.
Abeywardena is presently the Chairman of Acuity Stockbrokers (Pvt) Ltd and Acuity Securities Ltd.


‘Well regulated market with good settlement procedures’
28 May, 2017


The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has passed the era of scandals. Two years have passed without a single scandal.
“Our governance levels are very high; over the last two years there’s never been anything you could label as or consider as scandal which warranted any kind of investigations,” assures Ray Abeywardena, the new chairman of the CSE.
He says the CSE is a well regulated market with good settlement procedures and an excellent platform. “We are unfortunately saddled with cases that transpired in the previous era which are still under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He declined to comment on the status of these investigations as the investigations are under SEC.”
The new chairman says he is committed to maintain good governance and a strong focus on sustainable economic growth during his three-year tenure beginning May 5 and is looking forward to luring foreign investors back to the market. He added that the CSE’s recent overseas road shows, especially in Australia and New Zealand were quite successful
“Most foreign investors are interested in banking and corporate stocks; however, we need to get some of the export oriented companies also listed on the export market to see a phenomenal growth,” he said in an interview.
This year, Abeywardena said, road shows are scheduled to be held in Singapore, London and New York. “Apart from Australia, we are also looking at new markets such as China, Japan and the Middle East. In the Middle East we plan to tap the Sri Lankan diaspora,” he said.


‘Colombo small compared to regional markets’
28 May, 2017

By Lalin Fernandopulle

The new chief of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Ray Abeywardena said his focus would be to increase the market capitalization of the Stock Exchange to a satisfactory level from its current position which is not at all satisfactory.
Abeywardena who took over the reins from Vajira Kulatilaka last week said he would take steps to increase the market cap and the liquidity position in the Stock Exchange. He said the market cap of the CSE as a percentage of the GDP in 23 percent where as in India it is over 80 percent, Malaysia is over 145 percent and in Thailand it is 107 percent. Therefore, its very clear that our market remains small compared to some of the regional markets.
“The daily turnover is dismal and hovers around USD seven million where as it is USD 88 million in Vietnam and USD 100 million in Bangladesh.
We need to focus on increasing the market cap for which there has to be more listings in the Stock Exchange,” Abeywardena said.
The CSE which has been recording a low turnover for a considerable period due to the global market volatility showed some signs of recovery with the market cap surpassing Rs.3.5 billion last week.
“We have to boost the confidence of investors that the market is safe and provides a fair and transparent frame work to trade,” Abeywardena said.
He said the CSE competes against high interest, where people can get a safe return in a fixed deposit or on a Treasury Bill rather than try and make money in the stock market. That is why it is imperative that we send out the right signals to investors.
“Companies continue to do well and earnings are good. This is reflected in their valuations. We need to build investor confidence. Investors must be educated not to speculate with all their savings, rather they study the market and invest carefully. We will continue with awareness campaigns and investor conferences to promote capital market investment,” Abeywardena said. The new CSE head plans expedite the introduction of the Delivery versus Payment system that would help boost investor confidence.
He also said steps would be taken to set up the Central Counter Party clearing house to develop the market.
Abeywardena is the Managing Director of Acuity Partners (Pvt) Limited.
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Last edited by sriyanj; 28-05-17 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 28-05-17, 04:39 PM
sriyanj sriyanj is offline
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Default Vision to accomplish; obligation to make it happen, ray abeywardena’s way


28 May, 2017

By Chandani Jayatilleke

These are hard times for the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the stock broking community. The market has not seen proper inflow of foreign investments for quite some time; the average daily turnover remains at the level of USD seven million; as a result of this poor growth the stock market business and the stock broking community continue to suffer.
The new chairman of the CSE, who took over on May 5, is well aware of the current agony of market players and describes the market as ‘stunted’.
Having being in the stock broking industry for 31 years, beginning his career as a junior executive, Ray Abeywardena is looking forward to taking the challenge of correcting the stock market; bringing the past glory back to the Colombo bourse and prepare the market to embrace ‘emerging market’ status from a frontier market.
Last Monday Abeywardena took time to meet journalists to discuss the current issues of the stock market in Sri Lanka and how he plans to rally round all stakeholders to address them during his three-year tenure.
“This is an industry that has provided everything for me from a vocation perspective and being in the industry I have seen many ups and downs; and unfortunate phases it has gone through.
I feel I have a responsibility to contribute to the growth-which the entire industry is expecting from me as well,” Abeywardena told the Sunday Observer, as we sat down for a one-to-one interview in his private office down Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 3.
Although Abeywardena takes up the chairman’s position of the CSE, he will remain as the chairman of Acuity Partners – which is actually his bread and butter.
Garnering support
Abeywardena already served the CSE board when his name was proposed as his predecessor Vajira Kulatilaka stepped down having completed his three year term. “I felt it is time that someone of my caliber to step up and to aggressively work towards putting certain things right in the market given the present issues. But this has to be a concerted effort of the industry, the government and every stakeholder.
“The chairman cannot do this in isolation. I am looking forward to garnering the support of the stakeholders not only to revive but also to put the market back on a more stable and steady platform,” he emphasizes.
What support does he expect from the government? “We have been talking about listing the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) for a long time.
Now it is time the government implements this project. We badly need that revival to happen and to increase market capitalization.
“Beyond that there are also holistic reasons which should come together to develop the market; you cannot take one approach only and expect the market to grow. But the key point at this juncture is to get the market capitalization up,” he explains.
If the Colombo bourse can improve its capitalization, it will help greatly to be an emerging market.
“The emerging market status put us up in new indices like MSCI. When we get MSCI, we will become a more attractive market and the fund managers will look at us in a serious way. They prefer to invest in an emerging market than a frontier market.
SOE listing
“If you take our market capitalization as a percentage of GDP we are very low - we are only 20 to 23 % where as the other markets contribute 75 to 100%. Some even contribute more than 100%.
“Therefore, we need the government support to make our stock market more focused and attractive with a few strong listings soon.
The government should realize that we are a stunted market and we need the government to give us the impetus to keep going. ” Thereafter, he assured, that the private sector must lead.
The Colombo bourse’s strategy was to increase market capitalization ratio as a percentage of GDP to 50% by 2020.
However, Abeywardena feels the bourse still doesn’t reflect the main sectors, especially export companies, that drive the economic growth of the country such as apparel and tea sectors which bring in valuable foreign exchange.
“It is unfortunate that except for Textured Jersey there are no apparel companies listed on the bourse; there are no other export companies – there are no tea companies other than Tea Services and plantations which were mandatorily listed.
”This is not a good trend, but when you analyze the situation from their point of view, they look at valuation. If they feel the valuations they get are not attractive enough to list the companies they have built with a lot of dedication and hard work, they won’t. We need to create that vibrant market situation,” adds Abeywardena.
“I strongly believe if we are an emerging market, things would be different. For this we now need a ‘doer tank’ from the government; we have had enough ‘think tanks’ – it is time to move on,” he says.
Abeywardena recalled with gratitude how a decision taken by the late President R. Premadasa to withdraw taxes on foreign buying drove the market to its full potential. “This led a lot of foreign companies and fund managers to get active. It was such as good time. We need to see the market to repeat that experience now.” On the day we met Abeywardena, the Cabinet reshuffle had taken place and Abeywardena was hopeful that new Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, during whose time the Sri Lanka Telecom listing was successfully done, would be able to take forward the SOE listing project of the current administration.
We expect him to play a dynamic role in putting our financial markets back in the limelight once again. During the last regime, there were no SOE listings. The market dried up, curtailing market growth.”
Broker community
The most affected by the long-running sluggish stock market conditions is the stock broking community. “When the market is not attractive, the investors keep away from the market and the broker community would go through severe issues.” Responding a question on the shrinking broker community, he admitted that it will have a very negative impact on the future financial markets in the country by way of professionalism and growth. In this scenario, he also believes broker consolidation is a good thing if it happens. “It will be the best that can happen to the industry,” he said responding to our question. -

Pic: Ruwan de Silva
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