Wednesday, 18 June 2014 00:00
More than 40 senior Government and private sector executives from Sri Lanka attended Citi’s first Pension Forum in Colombo yesterday.
The proprietary event, hosted by Citi Investor Services, focused on the critical issues facing Sri Lanka’s pension landscape and the challenges and opportunities that arise from it.
Through analysis of trends and varying regulatory policies from across the region, the forum showcased key learning experiences conducive to the development of the pensions industry. The agenda covered a range of topics from retirement system design and private industry participation in the growth of pension funds to regional case studies in best practice, in particular how Australia’s rigorous reform unfolded.
Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who delivered the keynote address at the forum, said: “Sri Lankans are now rapidly moving into higher levels of incomes and affluence. In this scenario, new pension schemes will become a major need, which in turn, will provide wider opportunities for those who offer pension products. Further, the low inflation as well as the stability of the economy and interest rates will provide a long-term platform for the implementation of more vibrant pension schemes in the country. It is therefore hoped that the banking and insurance sectors will seize the opportunity to fulfill this growing niche market.”
Michael Zink, Citi’s ASEAN Head and Citi Country Officer of Singapore, said, “While Sri Lanka’s pension landscape is in a nascent stage of reform, there is increasing attention in its continued development. Citi is honoured to play a role in supporting this transformation and leading the charge in offering constructive dialogue among market participants.”
Vanessa Wang, Asia Pacific Head of Pension Services for Citi Investor Services, commented, “It is an opportune time for Sri Lanka to take actions to enhance the sustainability, diversity and participation in how it delivers pensions to its citizens. We’ve seen many Asian governments tackle pension issues over the last decade, all with some degree of success, and timing is crucial. The earlier you take action, the more time you have to react to the non-reversible demographic trend. Citi remains committed to this important global agenda, which has a significant long-term impact to the countries, well-being of citizens and underlying economies involved.”
Ravin Basnayake, Citi Country Officer for Sri Lanka, said, “Many countries around the world face the challenge of an aging society, which will have an impact on economic growth, living standards and the way societies function. The issue of sustainability for pension systems is one of the greatest challenges, and opportunities, facing governments and corporates around the world. Building on this momentum, Citi is honoured to host the first Sri Lanka Pension Forum, where together with leading industry speakers, we explored the road ahead.” In addition to Citi experts, the forum featured a number of key regulators and senior industry executives from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, NDB Bank, Nithya Partners and AIA Insurance Lanka PLC. Serving over 100 institutions, Citi is the premier choice for government entities around the world. Our Markets and Securities Services businesses are at the heart of servicing capital flows and provide customized solutions and best practice insight to the top pension funds in Asia Pacific.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
Pix by Upul Abayasekara