Out-of-court settlements with errant banks: Is financial services industry on a dying path?

Published : 12:00 am  August 25, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  3 Comments  |  8,970 views  |  
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Banks are at the receiving end The reports coming from global financial markets are not good for banks at all. Banking regulators have renewed their war against whom they perceive as errant banks. The law enforcement agencies in their respective countries too have joined them as allies in this onslaught. This time it is not small banks which they have captured in their nets. It is big banks they have netted proclaiming ‘no bank is too big to jail’, the alternative version of the popular dictum ‘some banks are too big to fail’. This sudden onslaught of banks by both regulators and prosecutors has shattered the foundation, long believed to be firm and strong, of the banking industry. Banks... 

Governance role of bank remuneration committees

Published : 12:01 am  August 22, 2014  |  Category: Dinesh Weerakkody, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  995 views  |  
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Introduction After the recent crises surrounding the global financial sector, there has been a big push to expand the scope of board remuneration committees. The intention is to strengthen corporate governance in all financial institutions, especially preventing exorbitant packages being given to top management at its own instigation. After 2008, new Regulations have been introduced; particularly, ever since the controversial case at Walt Disney and the bonus scandals surrounding many financial institutions in the West to ensure that a board sub committee of independent directors were made accountable for reviewing human resource policies and to set the remuneration of the executive staff and... 

“A common candidate is the only way out”

Published : 12:01 am  August 22, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Opinion  |  8 Comments  |  1,067 views  |  
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The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) claims the Opposition is still not prepared to put forward a common presidential candidate, despite speculation. TNA Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran asserted that although a common presidential candidate will be the only way out of the present situation, there is lack of seriousness in the talks about the matter. He added that a member of the Buddhist clergy will not be able to secure votes of all communities. “The present situation in the country is such that Tamils and Muslims will never support a Buddhist clergyman no matter how honest and genuine is.” Following are excerpts from the interview: Q: What are your views about the forthcoming presidential... 

Throwing spokes in the wheel

Published : 12:02 am  August 21, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  7 Comments  |  1,909 views  |  
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An impending alliance between the feuding Ranil and Sajith factions may offer hope of unity within the main opposition United National Party, but will it torpedo burgeoning hopes of a common Opposition platform to contest the 2015 presidential poll? On 24 July, within the musty confines of New Town Hall on Green Path, extraordinary political scenes unfolded. Ironically, the politically-charged event featured only academic, professional and civil society speakers, all of whom discussed constitution and nation building, rampant abuse of power and the broken quality of the present system. There were two remarkable things about the low key event organised by the moderate scholar monk Maduluwawe... 

‘Good’ is the enemy of ‘Great’!

Published : 12:00 am  August 20, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  720 views  |  
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This article is based on legendary book ‘Good to Great’ by famous business author Jim Collins. This book unearths and emphasises on how to transform a good company into a great company. We find good companies are ubiquitous. Ironically, great companies are quite a few. According to this book, he and his research team defined a great company as a company which managed to follow the graph (red line) where these companies outperformed the general market since the transition point by at least three times cumulative stock returns and managed to sustain the same wow performance for a minimum of 15 years. This would ensure lucky breaks and one-hit wonders are avoided. They considered around 1,500... 

SL’s SMEs must have a single line ministry

Published : 2:27 am  August 19, 2014  |  Category: Opinion, Rohantha Athukorala  |  3 Comments  |  1,085 views  |  
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Rotary Club insight I was at a Rotary Club forum last week on the importance of value chain development rather than just having a multitude of projects, and some interesting information was shared. This organisation that focuses on SMEs – in terms of livelihood development, poverty alleviation, health and education sector enhancement – has invested over $ 200 million in Sri Lanka. Some of the noteworthy projects are the eradication of polio, education support development post the tsunami that built state-of-the-art school infrastructure, helping the hearing impaired, livelihood development, anti narcotic drives and cancer identification units, which have been all on the strategy value chain... 

Ebola, globalisation and Sri Lanka in 2039

Published : 2:19 am  August 19, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  3,151 views  |  
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 The Ceylon Chamber’s 175th anniversary celebration At the recent 175th anniversary celebrations of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, its Chairman Suresh Shah provided a ‘fast forward’ , describing how the business community wished Sri Lanka would be in the year 2039, when the Chamber will celebrate its 100th year of existence. In summary the picture the Chairman presented was of a country having a strong globalised and regional presence in the worlds markets. He said: “Sri Lankan brands are on the shelves around the world and components made by our companies are in high demand. Many Sri Lankan firms have a strong regional presence and whilst some have a global footprint.” In essence... 

COPE’s control over public enterprises: A serious lapse in economic policy governance?

Published : 12:34 am  August 18, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  4 Comments  |  6,158 views  |  
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N.M. Perera: Avoiding Parliamentary control over public institutions is undemocratic An eternal debate between veteran politician and LSSP leader Dr. N.M. Perera and Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister J.R. Jayewardene in Parliament during 1965-70 had been on Parliamentary control over State-owned limited liability companies. The latter was fond of creating them – one such creation was Salusala Ltd. – as alternative to traditional public corporations because those limited liability companies, in his opinion, possessed greater commercial freedom to operate. NM did not buy this argument and found fault with JR. He accused JR of trying to degrade the powers of Parliament by creating... 

Five minds for future Sri Lankans

Published : 12:26 am  August 18, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,324 views  |  
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I read the fascinating book titled ‘Five Minds for the Future’ with enthusiasm. It was informational and insightful alike in prompting me to devote a column on its possible relevance to Sri Lanka, particularly to the student population and to the educators. Thus, it is opportune to discuss the five minds for the future Sri Lankans. Overview Howard Gardner earned much reputation for his work on multiple intelligences. He is the Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University. Being an author of 25 books translated into 28 languages, and several hundred articles, this is another feather in his cap. In this book, Prof. Gardner concerns himself with the kinds of minds that people... 

Lower unit cost leads to lower rates

Published : 12:14 am  August 18, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Shipping / Aviation  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,851 views  |  
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Lower unit cost leads to lower rates Service reliability in the container shipping business is set to improve as carriers with lower standards joining the big alliances will be forced to raise their quality of service delivery. That is the belief of Chris Price, Agility CEO for Asia-Pacific, who told JOC.com in an exclusive interview that the homogenous product offering would compel carriers to develop new and better customer services to distinguish themselves from their partners. “We expect service reliability to improve because the alliances comprise independent operational units managing vessel operations and that will force those with average standards to raise their service levels to match... 

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