Banking sector regulation: Finding the right balance

Published : 1:12 am  August 15, 2014  |  Category: Dinesh Weerakkody, Financial Services  |  2 Comments  |  691 views  |  
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Background Today, banks all over the world are under mounting pressure to manage regulatory compliance and associated risk effectively. Many analysts cite the lack of regulation of the financial markets as one of the primary causes of the economic collapse in 2008. Many banks since then have been forced to restructure to adapt to the regulator lead post-crisis environment and regulators have been working hard to get a grip on the nebulous sectors, such as shadow banking and hedge funds. Alan Greenspan, once a believer in deregulation, blames the crisis on the financial industry’s inability to monitor itself. A pattern of financial deregulation over the past two and a half decades paved the... 

“Call a spade a spade”: Eran

Published : 12:07 am  August 15, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists, Opinion  |  3 Comments  |  716 views  |  
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Q: What are your remarks on the recent COPE interim report? A: In our last annual report we had a proposal to issue quarterly reports. Because when the report comes out it is outdated and there is no point even discussing it. Therefore to include timeliness we proposed releasing quarterly reports. Chairman D.E.W. Gunasekera has assured the next report will be out in September. That is a good development and it means we are catching up. The Government is trying to give an impression that things are improving. In one sense it is correct. According to the Government, there were companies that did not submit accounts to parliament for eight to 10 years. But now those companies are more up to date.... 

All that glistens!

Published : 12:51 am  August 14, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  16 Comments  |  2,499 views  |  
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Do better roads and a spruced up capital city compensate for lousy prioritisation, corruption and repression in post-war Sri Lanka? Under the glass deck at the entrance to Independence Arcade on Bauddhaloka Mawatha, hundreds of ornamental fish swim hypnotically to and fro, delighting children and visitors to the latest entertainment spot in the capital. The glass is tough enough to walk on and the pond is lit up beautifully at night, making the massive underground tank a major attraction at the 85,000 sq.ft. recreational facility. Every other afternoon, the fish confine themselves to the farthest corners of the tank, and visitors can view a different species half-submerged in the green waters.... 

Not a drop should flow to the ocean

Published : 12:00 am  August 14, 2014  |  Category: Ajith de Alwis, Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  559 views  |  
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King Parakramabahu is reputed to have stated that not a drop of rain water should flow into the ocean without being used. He managed to mobilise his fellow men, and true to his words, built giant tanks to store and use water.  Many others before and after him did the same with perhaps the same intentions. That is the story that can be witnessed over and over again as one traverses the dry zone of Sri Lanka. Thousands of years later we do benefit from such structures still. With such a rich heritage our task today is not to build but maintain and whether we are exactly doing that right too is a question. Today however, as we write, parts of Sri Lanka that have figured prominently in the past... 

Khaya: The wonder tree for commercial cultivation

Published : 12:00 am  August 14, 2014  |  Category: Agriculture, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  616 views  |  
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Khaya also referred to as ‘African Mahogany’ is a tree similar to mahogany, natural to Africa and Madagascar. The tree was introduced to Sri Lanka several decades ago by the Forest Department, but the department failed to popularise the timber with the prospective end users. Mature Khaya trees can be seen along Kandy road near Kegalla, on the Kurunegala road, also near Batticaloa town. Between Dambulla and Habarana extensive young plantations exist by the road-side. Khaya is a fast growing tree, and can grow to a height of 100 feet, reaching three to five feet in diameter. It yields timber similar to mahogany, but the timber is heavier than mahogany.  Khaya matures in mere 10 to 12 years,... 

Low interest rates and anti-lock brakes

Published : 12:00 am  August 13, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  3 Comments  |  903 views  |  
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In the recent past, we have entered into a low interest rate environment. Overnight-interbank interest rate and interest rates of other tenures have eased off gradually. The rates at which central bank lends to banks and accepts deposits from banks, i.e. policy rates, have also decreased and so has the statutory reserve ratio (deposit portion of the total deposit base of the bank that needs to be placed with the central bank). Consequently, banks now will not be able to justify their return on capital by investing in Treasury bills or bonds. There will be excess liquidity in the interbank market in the short run and as a result both lending and deposit rates to customers will decrease. By all... 

UDA: Performance culture driving strategy

Published : 12:01 am  August 12, 2014  |  Category: Opinion, Rohantha Athukorala  |  5 Comments  |  531 views  |  
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                  Last week I was invited to take a session on ‘Marketing and Finance Implications in Urban Development’ for the top brass of the pivotal State organisation, the Urban Development Authority (UDA). When preparing for the program the day before, I discovered that some of the key initiatives in the city post-war have been the creative work of this institution. The Dutch Hospital, The Arcade at Independence Square, The Race Course, The Floating Market, Diyatha Uyana at Waters Edge and Independence Square, Nawala and Kotte walkways are a few. To make the program more relevant, I did a deep dive into the organisation. Let me capture... 

Be Alert!

Published : 12:01 am  August 12, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  494 views  |  
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The mandate of the External Resources Department Fast on the heels of the National Secretariat for NGOs issuing a circular purporting to limit the activities to their legitimate mandate, which has been discussed in this column earlier, the Director General of the Department of External Resources has placed a notice in the newspapers – under the alarmist caption ‘Be Alert…’ and subtitled ‘Notice to all Government officials, civil society organisations and general public’. This advisory on alertness comprises nine paragraphs. The first starts as follows: ‘Due diligence on the utilisation of funds received from foreign funding agencies, INGOs and any other sources to all Government... 

Communicating with confidence

Published : 12:00 am  August 11, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  465 views  |  
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A case of 10 CsManagers, local or global alike, need to be effective communicators. How can Sri Lankan managers strengthen confidence and competence in relation to communication? Are they aware of communication challenges? The attempt here is to relate, reflect and reinforce the realms of communication with due consideration of key challenges. Overview Communication comes from the Latin root “communis,” meaning to share. It is to keep information in common. Therefore, communication, in brief, is information exchange. It even goes beyond. It is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behaviour. Effective... 

Bank capital is not a panacea

Published : 12:00 am  August 11, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  5 Comments  |  5,946 views  |  
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Good governance and regulatory wisdom more importantRaghuram Rajan’s wisdom Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, an illustrious academic but now a practising central banker, is reported to have left an important message to central bankers from South Asia at a seminar held at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka two weeks ago. He is quoted as having said: “When you have long term liabilities, there would no control in what the banker does with the assets. The liability structure affects the kind of structure that you make. If you have long term liability without corporate governance, the investors will have no control. In having short term liability, banks are forced to manage risk properly... 

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