Former MP and businessmen Dr. Tilak Karunarathne assumed duties as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday.
He had meetings with the senior management and staff of the SEC to apprise himself of what each division does. Karunaratne is a former Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), United National Party (UNP) and Sihala Urumaya MP, a Chartered Chemist and Managing Director of Multiform Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his capacity as Finance Minister appointed him to take over the regulator.
“I have been given the letter and I will assume duty... today,” Karunaratne was quoted as telling Reuters.
Karunaratne succeeds Indrani Sugathadasa, who resigned on 1 December, barely a month after her Deputy Malik Cader was transferred to the Finance Ministry amid broker complaints that tougher regulation was hurting stock market prices, Reuters added.
Under Sugathadasa, the SEC this year has investigated several cases of share price manipulation, including ‘pump and dump’ schemes involving illiquid stocks, and tightened up the amount of credit brokers can extend to clients to avoid a crash.
Some of those cases touched on politically-connected investors, and brokers were upset at the tightened credit, which cut trading volumes and consequently, their commissions.
“We like to work with him and wish him all the best,” Chairman of the Colombo Brokers Association and Chief Executive Officer of LOLC Securities Sriyan Gurusinghe told Daily FT, adding that they were happy to see the new appointment made.
“We would like to work closely with him in taking the market to the next level,” Gurusinghe added.
“This appointment has been made by the Government as in the past and in the future we will cooperate and extend the necessary support for the development of the capital market,” Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Acuity Stockbrokers Deva Ellepola said.