May 24, 2018 / 7:40 PM / 6 months ago

Sri Lanka names ex-ADB advisor to lead market regulator

COLOMBO, May 24 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka has appointed Ranel Wijesinha, a former advisor to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as the chairman of its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the finance ministry said on Thursday.

Wijesinha has been a commissioner at the SEC since 2015. His appointment comes at a time investors and market players are looking for clearer regulations from the body, which had promised a range of moves including demutualisation and tough measures against market manipulators.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s coalition government has said it would investigate possible corruption in the previous administration but market players say such probes have been slow under the outgoing SEC chairman, Thilak Karunaratne who was appointed in 2015.

Karunaratne and his predecessor resigned as chairman under the previous government after they came under pressure for tougher regulations amid complaints over “pump and dump” deals that dented the sentiment among local retail investors.

The Colombo stock index, which hit a record high of 7,863.74 in February 2011, has been on a downward trend after many investors complained about market manipulation and inaction by the SEC. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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