By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says that the investigation launched by the Commission into several stockbrokers and investors over alleged irregularities in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) a few months earlier have now been expedited.
The SEC following suspicions of stock manipulations and insider trading in the CSE by certain stockbrokers and investors launched the investigations.
SEC Chairman, Thilak Karunaratne told The Sunday Leader that contrary to some media reports, none of the investigations initiated last year had been ruled out.
He said that the investigations were soft peddled at the time he took over as the SEC Chairman and that the investigations have now been expedited.
“At the first meeting of the Commission held after I took over as Chairman, it was decided to continue with the investigations,” he observed.
He explained that the regulator had to carry out its job of regulating if there were any misdeeds or fraudulent activities taking place in the stock market.
When asked if the SEC’s investigations would have a negative impact on the stock market, Karunaratne said it was unfortunate to see the regulator being placed in the limelight when the focus should have been on the issues that have led the regulator to step in.
“Instead of highlighting the companies and investors who are at fault and the stock brokers who have misinformed, it is the SEC that is in the limelight,” he noted.
According to Karunaratne, a group that has ganged up to weaken the regulator is focussing the Commission.
“They want a weak regulator in place,” he noted.
However, he said that no one has yet been accused of any irregularity since the investigations were on going.
“No one has been accused. They have only been asked for an explanation,” he added.
Karunaratne refused to divulge the basis to call for explanations from the stockbrokers and the investors saying it was unethical for him to do so.
It is learnt that the SEC has called for explanation from four stockbrokers and eight investors.
Be that as it may, the SEC’s move towards imposing strict regulatory measures and investigating into the actions of some stock brokers and investors led to much controversy during the latter part of last year.
The controversy finally led to the then Director General Malik Cader and later the Chairperson Indrani Sugathadasa exiting from the Commission.