Vajira Kulatilaka was recently adjudged the ‘Best Investment Banking CEO Sri Lanka 2014’ by Global Banking and Finance Review, in recognition of his contribution to the investment banking arena of Sri Lanka. This is the first time an investment banking CEO has been honoured in Sri Lanka.
Vajira currently heads the investment banking cluster of the NDB Group and is designated CEO/Director of NDB Capital Holdings PLC (NCAP) overlooking the operations of its subsidiaries NDB Investment Bank Ltd. (NDBIB), NDB Securities Ltd. (NDBS), NDB Wealth Management Ltd. (NWM) and NDB Capital Ltd., Bangladesh.
Commenting on this historical achievement Vajira stated: “It is a great honour and privilege to have been recognised for the continuous commitment and contribution made towards the development of the capital markets in Sri Lanka by an International Business Magazine and it encourages and motivates me to do better for the company as well as for the industry.”
Prior to joining NCAP, Vajira functioned as the CEO of NDBIB from 2001, where he was instrumental in carrying out record-breaking transactions, some of which remain as records on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) to date. Vajira led NDBIB to its current position as the leading investment bank in the country making milestone contributions including introducing the book-building process to the equity market and introducing a new industry benchmark in securitisations – utilised even today, to name a few.
Vajira also played a tremendous role in popularising wealth management in Sri Lanka and completely restructured the stock broking and wealth management entities of the NDB Group. Influenced by Vajira’s strategic guidance NWM now stands as Sri Lanka’s largest private sector wealth management company and the country’s largest unit trust manager. His thirst for innovation and capturing new markets saw the NDB Group establishing its footprint in Bangladesh and, more recently, venturing into private equity management.
Vajira has previously served in key strategic positions in a number of high profile organisations in Sri Lanka and overseas, including the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Sampath Bank and CKN Fund Management. Vajira has also participated actively in many policy-making committees of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka including areas of corporate governance and best practices, which has resulted in the development of the country’s debt and equity markets.
Adding to his list of achievements, Vajira was recently appointed to succeed Krishan Balendra as the new Chairman of the CSE from 5 June, 2014. A member of the CSE Board since October 2009, he contributes over 30 years of experience in banking, finance and capital market operations.
Vajira hails from a multi-disciplinary academic background, having initially entered the engineering field where he obtained a BSc in Engineering (First Class), from the University of Moratuwa and a MEng in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand. He later ventured into the financial sector, specialising in investment banking and corporate financial management supported by his professional qualifications being a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants UK (FCMA) and a CFA Charterholder.