Listed companies indicate a keen interest to adopt good corporate governance

The two-part series of online forums themed ‘Beyond Basics: Excellence in Corporate Governance’ hosted by the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) was successfully concluded recently, offering representatives of listed companies an in-depth understanding on the importance of good corporate governance practices and how it would increase investor confidence through transparency and accountability.

The event was attended by over 100 participants including Board Members and Senior Management representatives of more than 50 listed companies in Sri Lanka. The keen interest in the event, among the leadership of listed companies indicates that governance is increasingly being a key priority for Sri Lankan corporates at a time where investors and stakeholders are placing greater emphasis on organizational
governance of listed companies.

Good governance is an essential cornerstone of a listed company. It encompasses the processes, practices and policies that a company relies on to make formal decisions and to manage the company. The concept has earned its place as an essential growth tool for organizations and will continue to extend in prominence with time.

As the operator of the Sri Lankan stock market, the CSE strives to engage listed entities through sessions such as these to provide a deeper understanding of the elements that combine to create effective corporate governance in a listed environment and provide leadership on issues related to Governance and Sustainability.

Further to its initiatives, CSE has set governance standards among other broader continuous listing requirements, in order to set a robust foundation to ensure that companies commit towards operating with streamlined, transparent procedures and good governance, as better corporate citizens.

The first session which was held on 3rd of March 2021 focused on a comprehensive discussion on the salient governance aspects set out in the CSE listing rules (corporate disclosures and related party transactions), responsibilities of directors, board sub-committees and their working (audit, remuneration and nominations committees).

The second session, held on 18 th March 2021 further directed the conversation towards sharing corporate best practices on implementing internal standards of compliance and business conduct, managing conflict of interest, managing stakeholder relations and safeguards, the importance of maintaining a whistleblowing procedure and its implementation, and ESG performance reporting.

The topics ensured that globally accepted and implemented practices were discussed and listed companies were encouraged to look at these practices progressively in order to embrace governance as an enabler of growth and better business outcomes. The sessions were followed by a panel discussion which offered an opportunity for participants to engage in a discussion regarding practical implications
distinctive to Sri Lankan corporate environment.

Speakers at the event comprised of experienced professionals who are well versed on implementing best practice governance in organizations locally and internationally. The speakers at the sessions and the panel discussions included, Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Mr. Renuke Wijayawardhane, Head of Trading Operations Market Surveillance and Corporate Affairs at CSE Ms. Nilupa Perera, Chairman at Tokyo Cement Company (Lanka) PLC Dr. Harsha Cabral, Independent Non-executive Director at Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC Mr. Anil Tittawella, Independent Director/Senior Director at Seylan Bank PLC Ms. Coralie Pietersz, Chairman at Management Systems (Pvt) Ltd Mr. Asite Talwatte, Finance Director at Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC Mr. Umair Luqman, Partner & Head of Audit at KPMG in Sri Lanka Mr. Suren Rajakarier, Independent Non-executive Director at Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC Mr. Yudhistran Kanagasabai, MD/CEO at Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC Mr. Nedal Salem, Non–executive Director at Carsons Cumberbatch and Audit Committee member of Hemas Holdings PLC and MAS Holdings Mr. Shaktha Amaratunga, Legal and External Affairs Director/Company Secretary at Ceylon Tobacco Company
PLC Mr. Sudesh Peter and Corporate Affairs Manager at Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC Ms. Geehanthie Rasaputra.

Beyond Basics – Excellence in Corporate Governance is a part of many initiatives and engagements organized by CSE to elevate understanding and encourage listed companies to focus on continuous improvements that can be made to the corporate governance requirements in a listed environment and beyond.

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