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Monday February 6th, 2023

First Capital: Building Innovative, Profitable Investment Solutions for All

Dilshan Wirasekara Director/Chief Executive Officer, First Capital Holdings PLC

First Capital is accelerating efforts to transform the financial service solutions industry with its inclusive Performance First strategy.

First Capital is revolutionizing the financial service solutions industry with innovation and digital technology. While that may not be something new – the company has been doing just that for four decades – first capital is bringing greater intensity and focus to its game. Dilshan Wirasekara, director/chief executive officer at first capital holdings plc, explains how.

First Capital recently celebrated 40 years as a financial service solutions provider to Sri Lanka. Can you share with us the significance of this milestone anniversary?

Since First Capital began its journey four decades ago, we have witnessed many firsts as a pioneering financial service solutions provider and the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. We are the longest operating non-bank Primary Dealer licensed and appointed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in 1992. We were among the frontrunners to list on the Colombo Stock Exchange in 1994. In 2001, we subscribed to the first ever dollar-denominated bond, becoming the first to launch the Platinum Bond and manage Sri Lanka’s first AAA Debenture in 2014.

We led the way in innovation and digitalization, becoming the first to introduce digital account opening for unit trusts and government securities investments in 2021, making us the first in our sector to get an LMD 100 ranking and Brand Finance recognition in 2022. Today, powered by our Performance First philosophy, we celebrate this journey with another first, as First Capital becomes the first to forty, evolving into one of Sri Lanka’s premier financial service providers over the years.

First Capital Holdings has a Performance First ethos. How does this translate into your relationships with customers and other stakeholders?

Our introduction of the Performance First strategy has been a crucial step in our journey of excellence to enable a performance-driven environment for growth across all our business segments: Treasuries and Corporate Debt, Corporate Finance and Advisory, Stock Brokering, and Asset Management.

The Performance First initiative will help us reach our goal of becoming a leading investment bank in Sri Lanka. It has sharpened our focus on building innovative and profitable investment solutions and continuously improving processes and customer experiences with technology. It also includes empowering employees to excel at customer service and generating consistent returns. Performance First also means giving back to the community, which includes, among others, improving access to innovative financial solutions that generate solid returns on investment.

What is First Capital’s philosophy on business growth?

Our team continues to exude extraordinary strength and resilience, demonstrating a deep commitment to our values and culture this past year, serving all our stakeholders and exceeding customer expectations despite the many challenges from the Covid-19 pandemic and the unfolding economic crisis. Together we have accomplished a lot during the last four decades and empowered countless businesses and people, helping them unleash their full potential.

Client centricity is at the core of our operations: enhancing access and making life simpler for clients is our current priority. To this end, we have invested considerable resources to ramp up our digital and technology infrastructure.

Our clients have immense trust in First Capital, and our focus is to always uphold that trust by safeguarding and growing their investments.

Backed by the strengths of our parent company, JXG, and the other companies in the group that are leaders in their respective industries, we are able to drive growth through value creation and differentiation.

How are you harnessing digital technology to drive value for investors?

We are strengthening our digital capabilities and integrating our business to transform client experiences and drive operational efficiency in a radically different world. Developments in our digital offering enable us to focus on providing greater access to capital markets and effectively compete in markets we look to build scale and relevance through an evolving digital platform.

We have finetuned alignment across our business lines with external and internal digitalization. Specific core businesses are now low-touch and high-tech in the digital onboarding process, and a progressive digitalization of the client life cycle is underway. Client-centrism is honed through technology and data excellence, enabling better services and protection, cost reductions, and adding scale to our businesses.

Our medium-term transformation goal would be to enable clients to perform real-time transaction activity across many of our market-facing core businesses.

Near term, we have seen digitally onboarded client numbers in our Stock Brokering business increase almost fivefold to approximately 3,000 during the year. Our Asset Management business was an industry leader in stakeholder adoption of digital solutions, becoming the first local unit trust to adopt digital client onboarding. As part of the client life-cycle management strategy, we set up a new division called Customer Relationship Management and Digital with a dedicated team for digital onboarding to provide a distinctive aspect to engaging clients.