Experienced chartered accountant Tishan Subasinghe, fintech entrepreneur Omar Kassim, legal luminary Mohamed Adamaly and Islamic finance legal professional Paul Mercer recently joined the Board of Directors of Amãna Bank.
The appointment of Omar Kassim is in the interest of the Bank’s former chairman Osman Kassim, who retired after completing the maximum 9 year period of directorship of a Licensed Commercial Bank as per CBSL directions, but continues to be amongst the top 10 shareholders of the Bank. Tishan Subsasinghe replaces retired senior director Jazri Magdon Ismail who also retired after completing the regulatory 9 year period while Mohamed Adamaly was appointed as the replacement to Harsha Amarasekera PC who resigned from the Board in the beginning of 2020 in lieu of his imminent retirement having served the board since its inception. Paul Mercer’s appointment fills the vacant position of the second nominee director from ICD, the Bank’s strategic shareholder. While Tishan Subasinghe will function as a Non-Executive Independent Director, the trio of Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer will serve as Non-Executive Non-Independent Directors.
Commenting on their appointment the Bank’s chairman Asgi Akbarally said “We are honoured to have our Board of Directors strengthened by four versatile directors in Tishan Subasinghe, Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer. Their collective experience and business insight will be of valuable benefit in guiding the Bank towards achieving its strategic goals.”
Tishan Harendranath Subasinghe, is a Fellow and Council Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) and the Managing Director and Joint Managing Partner of Moore Stephens Consulting (Private) Limited and Moore Stephens Aiyar respectively. Before that he was the Head of Audit and Assurance at BDO Partners. He is also the chairman of Sanasa General Insurance Company Limited and is also a Council Member of the University of Moratuwa. His profession also expands overseas where he had work experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Botswana spanning several years. These were supported by the international training that he has undergone in USA, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Malaysia, Indonesia and Rome. As a member of CA Sri Lanka, Tishan has served as the chairman of the Annual Report Awards Committee, National Conference Committee and Examinations Committee. He also held the post of Vice President of the Young Chartered Accountants Forum (YCAF). Tishan is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA-USA) and has an MBA in Finance by the University of Colombo with a Gold Medal and has earned an LLB (Hons.) degree from the Buckinghamshire New University. He is also a visiting lecturer at several government universities and had also conducted international training in Maldives and Bhutan.
Omar Kassim is a fintech focused technology entrepreneur, who specialises in conceiving, building, and exiting interesting technology ventures. Omar is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nomod, a London headquartered startup building a highly efficient, scalable, business banking platform to empower millions of entrepreneurs and startups around the world to start and grow their businesses with inventive payment and banking tools. Omar also Co-Founded and was the Chief Executive Officer of Esanjo, a trading, investment, and technology business based in Dubai, where he remains a member of the Board. Omar previously founded and exited JadoPado, a highly regarded e-commerce technology platform addressing the Middle East, North African, and South Asia. Omar holds a BsC in Electronics Engineering and Business Studies from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
Mohamed Adamaly is a leading legal professional in Sri Lanka having a wide Civil Law practice in the Original Courts and Appellate Courts, with a focus on Commercial Law, Labour Law, Insurance Law, and Banking & Credit related laws. Adamaly also specializes in Investment Advisory, Business Set-up/Restructuring Services and Corporate Acquisitions. Adamaly graduated from the Faculty of Law University of Colombo with Honours while also achieving First Class Honours from the Sri Lanka Law College before being admitted as an Attorney-at-law of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 1994. Adamaly has served as a visiting lecture at the University of Colombo and at the Sri Lanka Law College. He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM UK) and is a leading lecture for CIM and formerly for CIMA, in Sri Lanka. Due to his vast legal expertise coupled with his business acumen, Adamaly holds and has held directorships in several public and private companies including in the David Peiris Group, Bogala Graphite Lanka PLC, Assetline Leasing Company Limited and Sinwa Holdings Limited. Adamaly is also a leading thespian in the country and has received the National TOYP Award for his contribution to Drama and Literature.
Paul Mercer is an English law qualified lawyer with over 20 years of experience working in banking, particularly in Islamic Finance. Paul has extensive experience in corporate governance and has used his skills and experience as a Director on a number of boards representing the Kuwait Finance House Group. Paul was the Chairman of Bahrain Investment Bank, Ibdar Bank, and as Chairman of the Board, he oversaw a three-way bank merger involving Elaf Bank, Capital Management House and Capivest. In recent years Paul has been actively engaged on Islamic Banking regulation in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and the implementation of capital and governance requirements. While working as a lawyer in private practice and as in-house legal counsel at Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), Paul has advised on a full range of legal issues relating to Islamic Finance and helped in the preparation of transactional documentation designed to comply with Islamic Law. Paul is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and is registered as an arbitrator on the GCC Commercial Arbitration Centre Roster of Arbitrators.
With the recent appointments Amãna Bank Board of Directors constitute as follows : Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally (Chairman), Rajiv Nandlal Dvivedi, Pradeep Dilshan Rajeeva Hettiaratchi, Aaron Russell-Davison, Mohammed Ataur Rahman Chowdhury, Syed Muhammed Asim Raza, Khairul Muzamel Perera bin Abdullah, Tishan Harendranath Subasinghe, Omar Kassim, Mohamed Adamaly and Paul Mercer. Retired directors Osman Kassim, Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail will continue to serve as trustees on the Bank’s unique flagship CSR venture, ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.
Amana Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated (S&P, Moody’s & Fitch) multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. In June 2020 Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka declared an upward revision of the National Long Term Rating of Amãna Bank to BB+(lka) with a Stable Outlook. Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.
The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.
Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.
SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.
“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.
“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.
“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.
“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.
The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.
The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’
Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
By Hiran H.Senewiratne
CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.
The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said.
It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank and HNB.
Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.
Further, Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.
Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.
In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions.
During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.
Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.