01. What do I have to do to trade stocks?

You need to have a CDS account. The process is very easy, just call one of 28 stock brokers and collect the registration form. Fill the form and submit with a copy of the national identity card and utility bill (within last 6 month) that proves your address to the broker. Generally within 2-3 working days your CDS account will be created.

You may call the brokerage office to find out whether your CDS account is created. When it's ready, you may call your advisor to ask him to make your first transaction.

** above listed are the minimum requirements and you may provide additional details based on the requirements by the selected broker.

02. I'm not rich! How much money is needed to start trading?

You may even start with Rs. 100 depending on the stock that you select to buy. Some stocks trade at very low prices. e.g. around Rs. 0.80. Assuming that you are planning to buy 100 shares of such a stock then your total cost would be about Rs. 80 (0.80x100) + 90 cents (rough commission of 1.12%).

Similarly, if you wish to buy a stock that's trading around Rs. 50, to buy 10 shares you will need about Rs. 500 (50x10) + 5.60 (rough commission = 1.12%*).

So really you can start with any amount. Just go for it. You can invest more as you gather knowledge about them.

*This transaction cost is for transactions up to Rs. 50 million. For transactions above Rs. 50 million the cost will include a commission of 0.6125% of the value of the transaction (minimum brokerage of 0.2% and other costs amounting to 0.4125%).

03. Need some help with filling the forms?

In order to get the CDS account, you must fill the following forms. In addition to these your broker may request you to fill in more information depending on different services that they offer. Most information requested in these forms are very straight forward, nevertheless you may wonder what the below really means

  1. Duly completed CDS Forms 1 & 1A;
  2. A copy of the NIC;
  3. If you don't have your NIC a copy of the Passport should be provided. If you don't have either the NIC or a Passport then a copy of the Driving License should be provided (with an affidavit affirming the NIC number and that both NIC and Passport are not available);
  4. If your current address is different from the address in your NIC, a utility bill to prove your residence;
  5. If the above utility bill is in your parents name proof of relationship should also be provided.

04. How do I know which stock to buy?

That's what the advisor is there for! Every brokerage has multiple advisors. When you create your account they will assign an advisor for you. He is your expert, you may call him or meet him to find out what stocks are the best stocks to invest in the market. Your advisor too may have certain questions for you, such as whether you are looking for a long/medium/short term investment, amount of money that you are planning to invest initially, etc.

You may be a school teacher, a chef or an architect. Just as you are experts in your fields, advisors are the experts in stock market domain. Get the best from them.

Nevertheless it is always advised that you too learn as much as you could about the market. More knowledge about stock markets can only make you wiser and richer!

05. How fast can I earn money in the stock market? What's the minimum guaranteed return?

The return (profit) you make from a stock is as simple as buying the stock at a lower price and selling at higher price*. After deducting buying commission (1.12%) and the selling commission (1.12%) you will get your net profit. Therefore your returns depend entirely on the price movement on the stocks you bought. Price can move in either direction for various reasons.

So simply there is no guaranteed return in stock market investments nor can we say how fast you can make money. In fact you could well lose your money if you do not select your stocks wisely.

Your returns entirely depend on how wisely you select your stocks.

*There are other forms of returns from stocks such as dividends.

06. How fast can I take my money back?

If you sell your stocks today your account will be credited in 3 working days from today. Therefore you can take the money back within 3 working days of any day that you select to exit your stocks. Nevertheless if you suddenly decide to exit your stocks, you might have to sell the stocks at the price prevailing at the market as at that given date. This might probably not be the desired price at which you wanted to sell the stocks.

07. Is my money safe in the stock market?

First of all you are only buying shares of a company or companies. Stock exchange and the brokerages are only the parties that facilitate these transactions. Having shares of a company is almost like you own a small % of that company.

Performance of the stock depends on how successful or unsuccessful the company is. If the company performance or the information about the company is favorable, most probably the share prices may go up, if the information is unfavorable, stock prices may affect adversely. Therefore the safety of your money depends almost entirely on how well the company performs and information circulating about the company.

08. How can I lose money in stock markets?

Risks are common to any investment. One of the main risks of share trading would be the possible drop in value of shares you've bought. But if you buy shares after careful consideration of the performance of the company then it is unlikely that you will lose. However, Economic, Political, Social, Technology and various other conditions could also affect the share prices.

One way that you could possibly minimize your risk is by investing in different companies in different sectors. As it is commonly said 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket'.

But always remember 'Never invest more than you can afford to lose'.

09. I want to start trading stocks, what advice would you like to give me?

If the stock trading is new to you, it's very important that you gather as much knowledge about this domain as possible. We would recommend for you to observe the market, more specifically few selected stocks for few days. Consider that you have bought them with paper money (not real money) now keep an eye on to see how your money is progressing. This will give you a good feel of how prices fluctuate with you having to invest your actual money. Practice makes it perfect!

Further read as much as you can. The more you read about the information related to stock markets and the Colombo Stock Exchange the more it gears you up for the real thing. Especially with the power of the internet, no information is far away from any person. Knowledge is power!

Talk to an expert, who you can trust and who can give you honest opinion about the state of the market, good stocks that you can invest in.

When you feel you are equipped listen to your instincts!

10. Can anyone open a CDS account?

Of course, if you are above 18 years of age and have your National Identity Card you can open a CDS account.

11. Is it a must to open a CDS account if I am to buy shares?

Further, if you are subscribing in a new company through an IPO you will have to open a CDS account because share certificates are not issued any more.

12. My advisor never has time for me. I don't think I'm getting a fair treatment.

Most investment advisors are very busy simply given the fact that the CSE has experienced an exponential growth over the last few years. Therefore, they naturally have very little time with each investor within the market hours. If you feel that your advisor does not give you enough attention please re think whether you are pushing for the information enough. Therefore, part of the blame should also come to you for not being able to extract the information you were seeking.

Nevertheless, if you still believe that your advisor is not giving you proper attention you may anytime request the broker to change your advisor or select another advisor of a different brokerage where you know is generally good.

13. Why should I invest in the share market and not in a savings account or a fixed deposit? What are the
additional benefits?

If you invest your savings in a bank deposit you are sure to get an interest at the end of each month, (unless otherwise the bank goes bankrupt!!!) However, the return you get is fixed. If you invest in the share market with the correct knowledge and a bit of caution, your returns could best be explained as unlimited. But you should also keep in mind that the share prices always fluctuate and there is a risk that you will make a loss. You should only invest in the stock market if you can take that risk.

Every investment has its pluses and minuses. It is up to you to decide which investment best suits you based on your expectations and the amount of risk you are willing to take. As they say, higher the risk higher the return!

14. How do I pay for the shares I buy?

You have to deposit a sum that is equivalent to the value of the shares you buy plus the commission, to the bank account of your broker within 3 market days of the trade occurring (by T+3).

15. What if I am unable to pay during this period?

Your broker will be obliged to sell your shares within 5 market days of the trade occurring (by T+5) and recover the monies owing to them if you do not pay for your shares within three market days of the trade occurring (by T+3).

16. Can I trade on my own without the broker?

Most brokers today offer online trading facilities where the investors themselves can place orders from wherever they are using internet. Nevertheless you must check if your broker provides such facility, if yes, you may have to request for that facility.

This provides complete independence for the investor to play the market with their own consent. There are pluses as well as negatives in this. Pluses are that you may act promptly and cut down some serious delay in placing orders. The negative side can be that, as you are on your own, the tendency of making mistakes is high unlike in a scenario when you are talking to your advisor where they could provide you with greater insights of what is right and wrong.

Therefore the correct approach would be to strike a balance of both; you can be independent when placing orders but it is highly advised that you keep in touch with your advisor on regular basis to hear the hot news in the market.

Sometime all of us need a reality check!

17. My English is not that good. Is it a problem?

Not at all! Learning how to read stocks is very easy. Further most brokerages provide information in native languages (both in Sinhala and Tamil). In fact even if you are very good in English, once you build a good relationship with your brokers, most likely you will end up talking to them in your native language as this is the case in many business relationships in Sri Lanka.

So again, by all means you don't need to speak good English to trade stocks.

18. Is it true that Colombo Market is controlled by a handful of individuals and all others are playing to
their tune?

Well, we really don't know the answer to this. As you may be aware Colombo exchange is still a smaller exchange compared to some of the exchanges in developed countries. What is important to note is that, this very myth or fact is there against most of the very big and developed markets as well. So frankly speaking, you should really not worry too much about these when nobody has a direct answer, just focus on whether there are opportunities for you to benefit. And what is more important to understand is that economic and market conditions in most circumstances are more powerful than the power of few individuals. Therefore if the country's political, economic, social and technology trend is looking good, those are even better reasons why you should not be concerned about such matters when investing in the market.

Nevertheless if you are convinced that this is indeed a fact and your money is at risk due to this, we suggest you consider alternative investment vehicles.

01.What information should I give my advisor when placing buy/sell orders?

  • Name of the company
  • Number of shares
  • The price

02. Can I quote any price I want?

You can quote any price you want in multiples of 10 cents. But first you should check the current market price and quote a reasonable price to ensure that your trade will be executed and also to ensure you don't lose out by quoting a lower price for a sale.

03. Why do share prices fluctuate?

Share market is similar to any other market. The prices depend on the demand and supply of the shares. For example, if there are more people wanting to buy a stock than to sell it, the price will be driven up because those shares are rarer and people will pay a higher price for them. On the other hand, if there are a lot of shares for sale and no one is interested in buying them, the price will quickly fall.

Apart from this, economic and political conditions will also have an effect on the share prices.

04. What are ASI and MPI? How do we know whether the market is 'up' or 'down'?

ASI stands for All Share Price Index. This measures the price movements of all the shares of companies listed on the CSE. If this index is higher on a particular day as at end of trading than the previous day's close the market is said to have improved and vice versa.

MPI stands for Milanka Price Index which measures the price movements of a selected group of 25 stocks, a list which is reviewed each quarter.

05. What's the difference between limit orders and market orders?

Limit orders are the most common orders investors place. It is an order in which the maximum buying price and the minimum selling price is specified.

Market orders are bit complex than limit orders. These are orders to buy or sell a security at the best price or prices prevailing in the market at that point in time. A price is not specified in this order and the trade will be executed at the best price. But the system will automatically calculate a protection price each time a market order is placed to prevent market orders being executed at extreme prices.

06. I see some companies having N.0000 and X.0000 shares? What's the difference?

'N' stands for ordinary voting shares of a company. People who hold these shares are the owners of the Company. They have the right to vote for or against important decisions the company is making. 'X' is ordinary non-voting shares of a company and as the name suggests does not have the right to vote. Both voting and non-voting shares will be entitled for dividends and all other rights attached to the two types of shares will be similar unless otherwise specified in the Articles of Association of the Company.

As for example, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC is having voting shares as well as non-voting shares.

Voting shares COMB.N0000
Non-voting shares COMB.X0000

07. Once I place an order is it final? Can I amend the price or the quantity of my order?

Yes, you can amend the price and the quantity of your order prior to it being executed. If it is partially executed the price and quantity of the un-executed portion of the order can be amended. You can also cancel any order prior to being executed and if partially executed any un-executed portion can be cancelled.

08. How do I keep a track of the securities I hold?

If you have an online trading account that will show the number of securities you hold and the value at a particular point in time. In addition to this you get a monthly statement if you have had a deposit or a trade that month. If you haven't had a trade for three months you will get a quarterly statement. The statements are issued directly to your address as indicated on the account opening form (therefore, it is important to keep your contact details updated!).

09. I have heard that advisors can trade shares without our knowledge. Is this true?

Yes it is. This will largely depend on the rapport between you and your advisor. This again would mean that you have indirectly authorized your broker to act on your behalf which is based on the trust you place on your broker. But if you do not want your advisor to trade shares without your knowledge you can transfer all or part of your shares to a 'locked balance' in your CDS account. That is if you are planning to hold that particular share for a longer period of time.

10. I have been hearing a lot about dematerialization? What is it?

Dematerialization is where the share certificates are converted to electronic form. In other words people holding share certificates are required to deposit their shares in the CDS. New companies issuing shares after 1st January 2011 will not be issuing share certificates. So if you want to invest in shares opening a CDS account is a must!

11. What if I hold share certificates at the moment?

Then you will have to open a CDS account through your broker and handover the share certificates to deposit it in your CDS account before 31st December 2011. Your broker will forward you a duplicate of the deposit slip they receive from the CDS as confirmation of receipt. Existing listed companies are given a grace period of 1 year to convert their share certificates to electronic form.

12. What if I want a share certificate to keep as security for a loan?

In that case you will have to withdraw your shares from the CDS account. This request should be made through your broker to the CDS and the CDS will in turn notify the Company Secretary of the relevant company of the withdrawal of such shares and share certificates will be issued by the Company Secretary for the withdrawn shares.

13. What is 'locked balance' and 'trading balance' of the CDS account?

Trading balance would be visible to the brokers and trading would be permitted on the said trading balance, as done presently.

On the contrary, the locked balance will not be visible to the brokers thereby maintaining the confidentiality of the information and also safeguarding you from any possible unauthorized sale by the broker. However, you can transfer shares between these two balances on a written request made by you.

14. What are dividends?

Dividends are a share of a company's profit given out to shareholders of the company in different ways. It could either be in cash or in shares of the company. If it is paid to shareholders in cash it's called a cash dividend, which is the most common way to pay a dividend. If dividends are paid in shares it's called a stock or scrip dividend.

15. What do I have to do to earn a dividend?

You just have to hold the share on the day the effective day for a dividend. But there is no guarantee that a Company will pay a dividend. It all depends on the company's earnings and future strategies.

16. What does XD mean?

XD date means the market day immediately following the date on which the shareholders pass the resolution relating to the dividend distribution. If you buy the share on the XD date, you will not be entitled for the dividend. The seller will have the right for the dividend.

17. How do I know whether the Company I've invested in is performing well?

You will be entitled to get an Annual Report (which sets out the financial position and performance of the company) once a year and quarterly reports or half yearly reports will be published on the CSE website. It is very important that you go through these data to see whether the Company is performing well. But unfortunately past performance only will not guarantee a good return in future.

18. If a company does not pay dividends does it mean that the company is not performing well?

By all means NO! You should always look at the income statement of the Company. The Company could be making profits but does not want to pay dividends because it has attractive ventures to invest in, which could be more advantageous in the long run. But if you expect a short term return then you should think twice before investing in such a company.

19. I don't understand the financial statements. How do I analyze the performance of a Company?

As an alternative you can use the financial ratios which are commonly used to interpret the wealth of information given in financial statements. This is a fairly easier way to find out whether a company is doing well or not. You can also use the technical analysis which makes use of charts and patterns (among other things) to predict the price movements of shares. You will also have to do some basic research about the company, including but not limited to the quality of its management, the cash flow position of the company, competitive position in the industry and whether its shareholders friendly.

20. Why do I always hear about Bulls and Bears in stock markets? What did these animals do?

Although America is not the country where the concept of stock markets originated, arguably it is by far the best country that made stock markets popular and also America has the biggest stocks markets in the world in terms of turnover and market capitalization. Therefore most wording that you hear related to stock markets are coming from U.S.

Like we find elephant and water buffalo's in Sri Lankan forests, some of the common wild animals found in U.S. are Bulls and Bears.

Bull signifies market going up. Bear signifies market going down. So if you happen to hear "!today market had a bull run!" or "! banking sector reacted bullish to new tax reforms.. " this means to say it went up. Similarly any reference to bear meaning it went down.

What made going up related to Bull and going down related to bear is the 'Attacking styles of these Animals'. As you know Bull always put its opponent up into the air with their horns when attacking while bear push the opposing party down when attacking.

This is the reason you get to hear a lot about Bulls and Bears in stock markets.

21. What is a portfolio?

Portfolio as the word suggests is a collection. In the share market context it is a diverse collection of stocks. If you are keen to minimize your risk then you should ideally maintain a collection of stocks in a variety of industries that has opposing earning characteristics. As such the prices of all your stocks would not move in the same direction and if the price of one falls another will rise and net off your position. This is called diversification.

22. Can I use a different broker from the one I have been using?

You may maintain multiple accounts through several broker firms. You can also transfer securities across accounts held with different broker firms.

23. What are other securities available on the CSE for trading?

Apart from ordinary shares, debentures and units of funds are traded in the CSE.

24. What is a debenture?

A debenture is a security that pays a fixed return, has a nominal value and in some instances a fixed maturity. Debenture holders are not owners of the company, they are merely creditors. As such they don't have voting rights. However, unlike shares the return for the debenture holders (i.e. interest) is certain. Whether the company makes a profit or not, they have to pay the debenture holders interest, at the agreed upon interest rate. Further, the debenture holders rank higher than shareholders of a company in the case of a liquidation.

25. How can I buy debentures?

You can buy debentures from a new issue of debentures or from the secondary market. Debentures are traded on the CSE just like shares although trading of debentures is not very active.

26. What is this 'Price Band' all about?

The SEC has directed the CSE to apply a formula confirmed by the SEC in selecting stocks on which to apply the 10% price band. For the stocks captured using this formula a 10% upward and downward price band is imposed on the previous day's closing price. This price band will be applicable for 5 market days from the date of imposition. The list of companies on which the price band is applied will be published on the CSE website.

27. Can we trade shares which have a price band in the normal way?

Yes you can trade. But the price you quote should be a maximum of 10% upward or downward on the previous day's closing price.

01. I bought stocks, but every day I see all other stocks going up except mine. Why am I so unlucky?

You are 'probably' not unlucky. This is a common dilemma that most investors go through. Each day at least one stock starts a rally and makes a significant gain in its price. By nature we get attracted to that stock and tend to think 'why did not I buy that' or 'if I had bought that stock'.

But in reality stock rallies last for only a few days, all the other times the stock remains dull and stagnant. Unfortunately for the investor, when they continue to see different stocks rallying each day for about couple of weeks, they get the feeling that everything else moves except the stocks in the investor's portfolio.

May be you have made the wrong selection. But if you think that you have made the right selection, then your time will come. And the stock that you selected too will start its rally. But nobody knows when! Just be patient and hold.

02. What do 'overvalued' and 'undervalued' mean?

You can calculate a value (intrinsic value) for the shares of a company based on a number of factors such as earnings, dividends and cash flows. This value could differ from the market price of a share because market price is determined from demand and supply factors which may not reflect the above factors. Therefore, there could be a difference between the market price of a share and the intrinsic value of a share.

If the market price is less than the intrinsic value then the share is undervalued. The market has not identified the true worth of the share. If the market price is higher than the intrinsic value then the share is overvalued. It is advisable to buy shares that are undervalued because its price may reach its true value in the long run.

03. What is an Candlestick chart? How do I interpret it?

Candlestick is a chart that captures price movements of a stock for a particular period and shows the Opening, High, Low and Closing price of a particular stock at a particular point in time. These charts are predominantly used in technical analysis to predict future prices or direction of future prices.

04. What are Order Qualifiers? How can I use them?

Order qualifiers are used in specific circumstances. Most orders placed by investors are with no qualifiers. If there are no qualifiers the orders will be executed at the specified price or better.

Fill or Kill (FOK) is an order qualifier that requires the immediate purchase or sale of a security at the specified price or better. If the whole order cannot be executed immediately it will be cancelled. These orders cannot be entered during pre open.

If Immediate or Cancel (IOC) is placed on an order it requires immediate purchase or sale of security for the specified price or better for the whole or part of the order. If the whole order or part of it cannot be executed immediately it will be killed. These orders too cannot be entered during pre open.

05. What are Day Orders?

A Day Order will be cancelled at the end of the trading day. That is how generally orders will be placed. But if you want you can use GTC or GTD orders.

GTC stands for Good Till Cancel and these orders will remain valid until cancelled or for five (5) market days.

GTD (Good Till Day) orders will be cancelled at the end of the specified trading day if unexecuted. You can specify a day subject to a maximum of five (5) market days.

06. How can I predict prices from a stock chart?

There are various techniques you can use to predict likely stock prices in the future. You can check the 'Show me the Science ' section under the Education Tab of our site where we introduce one new technique every day. But you should remember that all formations, patterns and charts fail at some point and it should be used in conjunction with other methods in forming a buy or sell decision.

07. What is Margin Trading?

Buying on margin is borrowing money from a broker to purchase stock. You can think of it as a loan from your brokerage. Margin trading allows you to buy more stock than you'd be able to normally.

Normally margin amount would be some percentage of your portfolio value. This will help the broker to sell your portfolio and recover the money in case you default your payment. Therefore this can be considered a win-win for both the investor and broker.

You can do this only through a Margin Provider registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka. Most brokers of Colombo Stock Exchange are registered margin providers. Please check the list to see if your broker too is listed there.

08. I buy stocks, but I can't make up my mind to sell.

Most of us buy stocks for only one reason and one reason only, that is to SELL one day at a higher price and make a profit. But it is true that most of the time investors tend to get hesitant when trying to sell, thinking that that stock will reach higher so that they can sell at an even higher price. But in reality after a rally most stock prices will take a downward trend for some time.

It's important for you to understand that stock rallies don't happen every day and most of the time, they last for only 2-3 days. This is a common scenario in any market worldwide. Therefore the best way that you can make up your mind to sell is to determine the price at which you sell at the point of buying. You may decide, that I will exit when I get 10% return, or even 5%, 35% or even 150%. It's very crucial that you be realistic in this figure. You may consult advisor and experts when arriving at this figure.

Once the stock price reaches the price you expected its best that you consult your advisor and experts again and make you exit (sell) accordingly.

Most of the time too much greed will only end up in sorrow! EXIT when the time is right. Once you made the sale, that stock is gone, it would be best you take that stock out of your radar (until one day that the same stock becomes attractive again). Stocks are there for you to make money and exit. Don't get emotionally attached to them.

09. I have made few bad mistakes and I have lost big! Feel like quitting! Any advice?

It's good that you used the word 'mistakes', that mean you know you did something wrong. It is very important that you learn from your mistakes and not to do them again. If you continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, then there is nobody to blame but you. So even though you lost consider that your loss is worth the lesson you have learnt.

Stock trading is all about learning and mastering the techniques. Most probably you would never find an investor who has not made a loss in their lifetime of trading. Probably they have lost many times, but if you happen to read about any great investor, you will notice that they all have lost, but more importantly they have learnt from their mistakes.

It's your decision whether to quit or not, but keep in mind that you can't ride on your luck every day. Unless you select your stocks with an underlying reason, you are meant to make loses at some point, and surely your loses will be big when that day comes.

01. I hear a lot about IPOs these days? What is it actually?

Initial Public Offer (IPO) is the method by which a company first enters the share market. The company invites the general public to invest in the shares of the company using a document called a Prospectus. This prospectus has the information about the issue (no. of shares, price per share, how to apply, etc), information about the history of the company, financials, future strategies and so on.

02. Often in an IPO the issue closes on the same day it opens. How does that happen?

Although there is a day to open the subscription list, you can start applying from the day the Company makes available the Prospectuses to the market. With high investor demand it is very common for IPOs to get oversubscribed. By investing early you can make sure you don't miss out on the chance of applying for a good stock.

03. What is a Prospectus? From where can I get a Prospectus?

Prospectus gives out the details of the company, details about the shares to be issued, industry information, procedure in applying for shares and so on.

You can get the Prospectus from your broker and also from the respective company. Go through it to see whether you like the company and if you are interested you can fill in the application form and submit it to your broker or to any address specified in the Prospectus along with the required remittance. You should carefully go through the procedure to be followed in applying for shares to make sure your application does not get rejected.

04. I never get allotted the total number of shares I apply for in an IPO. Why is this?

As a result of the increased investor confidence in the share market, companies going for IPOs get oversubscribed. That is, the company gets applications for more than the number of shares they are issuing. As such the companies have to decide on a ratio or a method to allot shares to all the people who invest in a fair manner. Because of this you will not get the total number of share you apply for. The basis of allotment will be published by the company on the CSE website once it is decided upon.

05. Can I apply for shares jointly with another person?

Yes, you can.

You can apply jointly with a maximum of two (2) other applicants (your spouse or children above 18 years of age). As such a maximum of three (3) applicants will be accepted as joint holders. You should fill in information for all applicants in the spaces provided in the application form.

06. What is an 'Introduction'? Can I buy shares from an Introduction?

Introduction is different from an IPO although it is another method of entering the share market. Here the already issued shares of the company would be listed on the stock exchange. You cannot buy shares because shares are not offered to the public. But the company will issue an Introductory Document which you can obtain from your broker and if you are interested in the company you can buy shares in the secondary market.

01. What is a 'rights issue'?

A company issuing shares in a specific proportion to the existing shareholders of the Company. If you hold shares on the date of the EGM you will be entitled to buy shares at a lower price than the prevailing market price of the company's share. But if you don't want to exercise your rights you can also trade your rights in the market as it goes as a seperate security (denoted by the letter 'R'). All the information regarding the issue will be given out to shareholders by way of a Circular.

02. I don't have money to exercise my rights. What are my options?

If you don't want to buy shares for the rights you are given you can sell the rights in the market. To do this you have to renounce your rights in favor of the CDS. You will get a form called the 'Form of renunciation to CDS'. Fill this form and hand it over to the CDS. After that you can trade the rights security from the day it starts trading like a normal share (but for a shorter period).

You can also ignore the rights issue which is not recommended because your shareholding in the company will be diluted if you don't subscribe for the rights.

The important dates pertaining to the rights issue will most likely be given in the Circular which will be sent to you if you are entitled for the rights issue. Further, the CSE will also announce the dates in the ATS and also on the website. It always pays to check the announcements regularly!

03. What are the important dates for a rights issue?

EGM date
The date on which the shareholders pass the requisite resolutions for the rights issue.
XR date
The immediate market day following the date of the EGM.
Date of dispatch of provisional letter of allotment
If you hold shares as at end of trading on the EGM date you will get a provisional letter of allotment giving out your entitlement for the rights. Once you get this letter you can decide either to exercise your rights or to trade your rights.
Last date of acceptance and payment
The date by when you should complete payment for the rights you are going to exercise.
Period of renunciation
From the date the rights start trading up to the renunciation date you can trade on your rights.

04. What will happen on the XR date?

XR date is linked to a rights issue. XR date will be the immediate market day following the day on which the shareholders approve the resolution for the rights issue. To be entitled for the rights issue you have to hold shares on the EGM date. If you buy the particular share on the XR date you will not be entitled for the rights issue.

05. Can I buy additional shares over and above the number of rights allotted to me?

Yes, this would be possible due to some shareholders not exercising their rights. You can fill in the form 'Application for additional shares' and submit it along with the required remittance. But the number of additional shares allotted to you will depend on a scheme proposed by the Directors and approved by the shareholders.

06. When will I get the shares allotted for my rights?

You have to fill in the required forms and submit it along with the required remittance as explained in the circular. The Company is required to complete the CDS uploads within 12 market days of the last date of acceptance and submit a Declaration to the CSE on the immediately following market day as per CSE Rules. The shares will come in to your account on the following day. So ideally the shares should come in to your account within 14 market days from the 'last date of acceptance and payment'. But this could change because some companies do finish the uploads before 12 market days. So the latest day for the shares to come in to your account would be the 14th market day from the last date of acceptance and payment.

07. What is a Warrant? Why does it exist?

A warrant is a security which gives the holder the right to buy the shares of a particular company at a pre determined price on a pre determined date. Warrants could be issued by a company as a separate issue or it could be coupled with a rights issue. This security denoted by the letter 'W' could also be traded on the stock exchange. The companies issue warrants to enable them to raise funds in a future date and in the Sri Lankan context mostly as a sweetener for rights issues.

08. If I hold Warrants in a particular company, what should I do?

You can deposit your warrants in your CDS account and you can trade the warrants up to the date of expiry which would be given in the circular sent to you. If you have warrants as at the expiry date you can excercise these warrants during the exercise period. That is, you can convert the warrants to ordinary shares of the company by paying a sum equal to the exercise value (exercise price into the number of warrants to be exercised) to the registrar to the issue.

09. What is a Capitalization of reserves?

This is more commonly known as a bonus issue. This is a situation in which you are given shares free of charge in a specific proportion to their current holding. The required funds are taken from the reserves of the Company.

10. What should I do to get shares in a capitalization of reserves?

If you are a shareholder entitled for the capitalization of reserves you will get a circular setting out all the details. If the company's Articles of Association require shareholder approval to be obtained for the capitalization, the company will hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to obtain same (Remember, to be entitled for the capitalization you should hold shares of that particular company as at end of trading on the EGM date).

If the shareholders approve the particular resolutions, the company is required to complete the direct uploads within 5 market days from and excluding the date of the EGM and submit a Declaration to the CSE on the immediately following market day as per CSE Rules. The shares will be available in your account on the following market day.

11. What is a share split/sub-division? Is it true that the price goes down immediately after the sub-division?

Share sub-division is when one share of a company is divided in to a higher number in a particular ratio (i.e. 1 share sub-divided into 2 or 1 share sub-divided into 4, etc.). This is done with the purpose of increasing the liquidity and tradability of a share, when the share price of a company is very high. The price of one share after the sub-division will definitely go down but the total value of your shares will remain same because you have more number of shares.

Share consolidation is the opposite of this.

12. What does XC date mean?

XC stands for ex-capitalization. Similar to a rights issue, in the case of a capitalization you should hold shares prior to the XC date (as at end of trading on the EGM date) to be entitled for the capitalization. Buying shares on or after the XC date will not entitle you for the capitalization.

01. Is the Sri Lankan market open for foreigners to invest?

Yes, foreign citizens as well as non-resident Sri Lankans can invest in the CSE. For this purpose foreign investors should have an account called "Securities Investment Account" (SIA) [formerly known as SIERA] and non-resident Sri Lankans should have an account called "Rupee Account for Non-resident Sri Lankan Investment" (RANSI).

02. Please explain to me what SIERA (now known as SIA) and RANSI accounts are

SIERA is now known as SIA and SIA stands for Securities Investments Account which is a LKR account which eligible investors could open to invest in Government Securities (treasury Bills and Treasury Bonds), Shares of listed companies on the CSE and Units of Unit Trusts in Sri Lanka. Funds for investments in the said securities should be channeled through this account and the remittances such as dividends and sales proceeds should also be channeled through this account.

The following people are eligible to open SIA accounts:

  • Foreign institutional investors such as country funds, regional funds or mutual funds
  • Corporate bodies incorporated outside Sri Lanka
  • Citizens of foreign states, whether resident in Sri Lanka or outside Sri Lanka
  • Non-resident Sri Lankans
  • Sri Lankan professionals living in Sri Lanka who receive inward remittances
  • Dual citizens who receive inward remittances

RANSI stands for Rupee Account for Non-Resident Sri Lankan Investment. Non-resident Sri Lankan citizens who have taken up employment abroad or set up a business and continue to live abroad could remit money for investments in Sri Lankan companies through RANSI Accounts (Rupee Accounts for Non-Resident Sri Lankan Investments), maintained with authorized dealers.

Funds channeled through this account could be used for investment in Government Securities, shares of companies, debentures, Units of Unit Trusts and in real assets such as land and building. All inflows arising out of these investments could be credited to this account and would be free to be taken back without exchange control restrictions.

03. What do I have to do to get a CDS account?

To invest in the CSE the foreign investors must have a CDS account. Foreign investors may open an account either directly through a stock broker or through one of the Commercial Banks offering custodian services.

The following documents are needed to open a CDS account:

Foreign Individuals

      • A copy of the valid Passport
      • CDS Form 1 - Application for opening of a Securities Account for Individuals
      • CDS Form 1(A) - Declaration form to be submitted for Individuals
      • Billing proof as per the Rules issued by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Sri Lanka
      • SIA account details with proof
      • Further if you are opening the CDS account using Power of Attorney (POA) a copy of the POA is also needed.

Non-resident Sri Lankans

      • A copy of a valid Sri Lankan Passport.
      • CDS Form 1 - Application for opening of a Securities Account for Individuals
      • CDS Form 1(A)- Declaration form to be submitted for Individuals
      • CDS  Form 1 (C) - Declaration form to be submitted for non-resident Sri Lankan individuals
      • Proof of residency document as per the Rules issued by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Sri Lanka
      • RANSI account details with documentary proof

04. Are there any minimum requirements that foreigners have to fulfill prior to investing?

There are no minimum requirements in terms of funding. If you have opened the CDS account by providing the above details you can start trading at any moment.

05. How easy it is to take money in and out of Sri Lanka?

Unlimited wiring of funds in an out of Sri Lanka is enabled through the SIA/RANSI accounts as these accounts are designated for share transactions.

06. What International Banks Operate in Sri Lanka?

Most international Banks including the following have been established and perform business in Sri Lanka for a long time

07. How big is Colombo Stock Exchange compared to other exchanges?

Colombo Stock Exchange has had the most phenomenal growth in the last two years expanding 89.20% and 73.69% in 2009 and 2010 respectively. CSE was the best performing market in the year 2009 and 2010 consecutively. In year 2008 as in most other markets in the world CSE had a negative growth in light of the global financial crisis.

Globally Colombo Stock Exchange is fast catching up to its counterparts, becoming 34th on the global rank of most number of trades and 44th on total value of shares traded in the year 2010. CSE is also ranked 46th globally on market capitalization. Currently there are approximately 245 companies listed in CSE and is expecting about 50 IPOs within this year.

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08. How is Sri Lankan Economy doing over the last few years?

Sri Lankan economy has been enjoying a very steady economic growth despite the global economic meltdown and had achieved GDP growth of 6.90% in the year 2010 and the country's Central Bank is predicting 8.2% growth in the year 2011.

Sri Lanka's strongest sector is Services with a contribution of approximately 57.7% to the GDP in the year 2009 while Industry and Agricultural sectors contributed 29.7 % and 12.6% respectively.

Sri Lanka has a very good infrastructure system and an effective banking system making the perfect environment for new businesses. Sri Lanka heavily encourages foreign investments and offers vast range of incentives to foreigners who want to setup business in Sri Lanka.

09. Tell me about Sri Lanka, briefly?

Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is an island in the Indian Ocean, lying east of the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka is about the size of Tasmania, with an area of 66,000 square km, including 870 square km of inland waters. The population of Sri Lanka is 20 million, with 2.2 million people living in the capital city of Colombo. Sri Lanka's official languages are Sinhala and Tamil, although English is commonly used in government and in business. The major religions in Sri Lanka are Buddhism (69 per cent), Hinduism (15 per cent), Christianity (8 per cent) and Islam (7 per cent). The currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee.

Considered by many as a paradise island, Sri Lanka has become one of top tourism hot spots in the world and is ranked on top by some of the leading names such as National Geography, Time Magazine, Yahoo! Travel. Sri Lanka offers unparallel diversity of tourist attractions including, gorgeous beaches, ancient cities, Wildlife & Animals, Eco Tourism, shopping, mouth watering Sri Lankan dishes, Ayurvedic massages to name few. Nation known for its hospitality and array of luxury hotels offering services at much lower rates compared many other countries make it one of the most complete destinations in the world today. Direct flights to Sri Lanka are available from Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

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