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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2010

Sri Lanka: Japan's SBI Holdings buys 20% stake of Wealth Trust Securities

By Special Correspondent in Colombo
Colombo, 24 September, (Asiantribune.com):

Japan based investment group SBI Holdings recently informed to markets that it is buying a 20 percent state in Sri Lanka's Wealth Trust Securities (WTS), a licensed primary dealer in government bonds.

Japan’s SBI Holdings, Inc. has thus concluded an agreement to acquire 20% of the shares of Wealth Trust Securities Ltd. (WTS), and provide investment products, primarily Sri Lankan bonds, through its subsidiary, SBI Securities Co Ltd. to the Japanese market.

An official statement by SBI Group said that it is to promote Sri Lankan Government securities and corporate debt as high yield investment instruments to Japanese investors.

Wealth Trust ranks amongst the top five primary dealers in Sri Lanka and has a broad customer network. SBI in its official statement said it already had an investment in First Guardian Equities (Pvt) Ltd in Sri Lanka, which is a share broking firm. With WTS and previous investment in First Guardian SBI aims to be a prominent player in both the debt and equity markets in the country according to the officials.

WTS is a licensed primary dealer in Government securities appointed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, with direct access to both the primary and secondary Government securities markets, and has the ability to participate in the issuance of local and foreign currency-denominated bonds.

WTS Board of Directors includes Chairman Dr. Anura Ekanayake, Managing Director Dammika Ranawana and Directors Mangala Boyagoda, Senaka Weerasooria and Ruwan Cooray with Consultant International Markets Viraj Malawana for the company and Romesh Gomez functioning as the Chief Executive Officer.

One of the Directors of the company Senaka Weerasooria is the new Chairman Sri Lanka’s Prima Ceylon group controlled Ceylon Grain Elevators Plc and Three Acre Farms Plc that dominate the Day Old Chiks production in Sri Lanka, appointed from the 25th of February 2015.

The entry into Grain Elevators was following the resignation of Senaka’s father Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria from the Board on 13 January 2015 as an Independent Non Executive Director. Senaka is a management and information technology professional with over 25 years experience in IT and finance sector. He is currently the Vice President of FINCO Group, where he manages the IT Cluster consisting of software development company GENESIIS Software, and the hardware and systems integration company FINCO Technologies. Senaka’s father Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria is the brother in law of Sri Lanka’s once famous UNP Politician Gamini Dissanayake who was once powerful minister of the United National Party, who spearheaded the Mahaweli Development Project.

That era Senior Sri Lanka Journalist S.P. Amarasingam, the venerable editor of ‘Tribune’ for 30 years (from 1954 to 1985), had said that Mahaweli flows not to Trinco but to Finco.

Prima Ceylon was also initially started in Sri Lanka under UNP government of 1977 under the Build-Operate-Transfer model and during the last 40 years control the flour market in Sri Lanka selling majority of flour to over 20 million populace island nation for over 4 decades.

Market analysts are in the view that Japan’s SBI entrance into Wealth Trust Securities shows confidence in Sri Lanka’s primary dealer market and primary dealers at a time when the domestic bond markets had got primary global attention to the new ‘Good Governance’ government appointed first Central Banker Arjuna Mahendran’s (Alleged personal financial advisor to present Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for over 20 years and the son of Colombo UNP supporter and former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Nations of J.R. Jayawardene era – Charlie Mahendran) son in law Arjun Aloysius once owned Perpetual Treasuries is accused of ‘manipulating’ primary auctions of Sri Lanka and domestic bond market with a ring of his Father -in-Law Mahendran and his CEO Kasun Palisena’s colleagues and banking sector treasury officials.

Sri Lanka’s President has already appointed a Presidential Commission of Investigations (PCOI) into alleged ‘Bondscam’ of Arjuna Mahendran-Arjun Aloysius fame which is alleged to have brought in a loss of over Rs. 1 trillion or 10% of GDP to Sri Lanka’s economy that economically affects the country for next 100 years and beyond, raising the prevailed 2014 lower interest regime to shoot up by over 100% taking Sri Lanka again to over 10% or double-digit market interest regime after 29th of February 2015.

PCOI has already revealed so many revelations on how this ‘Bondscam’ had happened from 2015 to 2016.

- Asian Tribune -

 Dr. Anura Ekanayake - Chairman, Wealth Trust Securities (WTS)
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