COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s capital markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has said it will improve surveillance and take tougher action to counter money laundering in the island.
Vajira Wijegunawardane, SEC Director General, said they want to foster a culture of good conduct among market participants as it remains one of the most important factors influencing investor confidence in the capital market.
“Recognising the need for early mitigation of such risks, the SEC continued to conduct risk focused supervision emphasising on the effectiveness of governance and internal controls of the market participants,” he said in the SEC’s annual report for 2014.
“The SEC is committed to ensuring that capital market intermediaries implement the highest standards of pre-emptive measures to counter money laundering,” said Wijegunawardane.
During the year, the SEC participated in the assessment to ensure Sri Lanka’s adherence with recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, an independent inter-governmental body responsible for protecting the global financial system against money laundering and terrorist financing.
Wijegunawardane said good conduct cannot simply be legislated and regulated and must be encouraged and internalized by companies.
“The significance of our capital market can only be ensured if our regulatory and governance framework is reinforced by a culture of accountability and propriety across all stakeholders,” he said.
“I believe, regaining public trust and confidence requires a stronger ethical dimension to the actions of individual participants.”
The SEC will use technology “to the fullest” for effective market monitoring, Wijegunawardane said.
It will have strong oversight over conduct of market participants to keep a constant eye to detect wrong doing early and take preventive measures.
“If violations are detected we will take prompt action, as failure to act fast will only encourage unethical behaviour,” Wijegunawardane said.