Business Times

Top banks, Indian firm aim for broking licenses

Commercial Bank (CB), Bank of Ceylon (BOC), LOLC, Malaysian high networth investor, Dato’ Seri Tiong King Sing and India Infolines are amongst those who have been short listed for a retail stock broking licence at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), according to informed sources.

If CB gets the licence, it would be returning to stock broking after about a 10-year hiatus. LOLC is re-entering this field after June last year after its Board of Directors decided to sell its entire shareholding of 30% in the company’s stock-broking arm, Lanka ORIX Securities to Tushan Wickramasinghe, the firm's chief executive at the time.

At the time, Rohini Nanayakkara, Chairperson at LOLC said in a statement that this divestiture is not an indication of LOLC moving out of this sector and that they hope to re-commence this business at a future date.

“It will be a first for the BOC in this trade, while Indian stockbroker - India Infolines will have Priyani Ratnagopal, formerly at Asia Capital and then Capital Trust Securities, heading its operation in Sri Lanka,” one source told the Business Times.

He said Mr. Sing has also applied for a licence and Asia Capital’s CEO Asanga Seneviratne, who is to quit the company soon, will head this operation. Last June, the CSE advertised for broker licenses and said that successful applicants would have to open at least one branch office outside the financial capital Colombo within the first year and a further two branches within the second year of operation.

The licences will cost Rs 25 million plus taxes per license, with a minimum startup capital of Rs 50 million. Currently there are 21 brokerages dealing in debt and equity at the Colombo bourse.

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