Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka & Finance PLC (MBSL) has planned to conduct a series of seminars directed towards strengthening the country’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector. The first one of the series of seminars was held recently under the theme of ‘Contemporary issues in SMEs in Sri Lanka’ at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies.
The seminar featured several eminent speakers representing the government, private sector and academia. The keynote address on Government Policy and Strategy for SME Development was delivered by Central Bank of Sri Lanka Deputy Governor K.D. Ranasinghe, while other speakers included University of Colombo Professor of Management and Finance Dr. H.D. Karunaratne and Colombo Stock Exchange CEO Rajeeva Bandaranaike.
The Government of Sri Lanka has earmarked the SME Sector to play a vital role in the country’s socio-economic development, providing policy impetus to create a conducive environment for the creation and sustainable growth of SMEs. As the country’s pioneer investment/merchant solution provider, MBSL intends to partner the Government’s agenda as an intermediary by supporting the SME Sector through its wide array of capital market and corporate advisory solutions. In particular MBSL intends to act as a sponsor in facilitating the listing of SMEs on the new ‘Empower Board’ of the Colombo Stock Exchange, a dedicated platform for SMEs to access international and domestic capital.
MBSL entered the Sri Lankan financial sector as the country’s pioneer merchant bank in 1982 and was quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange in 1991. Subsequently registered as a licensed finance company under the Finance Business Act No: 42 of 2011 the regulatory purview of Central Bank of Sri Lanka. MBSL caters to a wide range of customers through its key business activities which include deposit mobilisation, savings, leasing, loans, corporate advisory and capital market services, trade and project finance, pawning and real estate through a widespread network of 49 customer touch points. MBSL is a subsidiary of state-owned financial powerhouse Bank of Ceylon which holds a strategic stake of 74%.