13 May 2010

How to Invest in SFIDA Sri Lankan Bank Accounts for Higher, Tax Free Returns

Special Foreign Investment Deposit Accounts - SFIDA

Now foreign citizens/institutions and Sri Lankans resident overseas can invest in Sri Lanka and earn best returns on your foreign currency with a Special Foreign Investment Deposit Account, SFIDA.

You have the option of maintaining your SFIDA account in a designated foreign currency and earn a higher interest than what you could earn in most other Financial Centres, or maintaining your SFIDA account in Sri Lankan Rupees (LKR) and get a much higher return of app. 8 to 10pct.

All SFIDA accounts are exempted from Income Tax, Withholding Tax, Debit Tax and other levies. At maturity, your capital and interest can be converted to any of the designated currencies of your choice at the prevailing exchange rate and repatriated without any exchange control restrictions.

SFIDA accounts range from one month to 12 months, and the interest rate applicable will vary depending on the prevailing market rate.

Eligible Investors to Open an SFIDA Account
• Citizens of foreign states
• Sri Lanka citizens resident outside Sri Lanka
• Corporate bodies incorporated outside Sri Lanka
• Foreign institutional investors (eg. Country funds, mutual funds, regional funds)
• Note: Joint accounts held by two or more eligible investors are also allowed

Type of SFIDA Accounts
• Savings Deposits in designated Foreign Currencies or in Sri Lankan Rupees
• Time Deposits in designated Foreign Currencies or in Sri Lankan Rupees

Permitted Currencies
Investment can be maintained in a Sri Lanka Rupee account or a foreign currency account (US Dollar, Sterling Pound, Euro, Australian Dollar, Canadian Dollar, Hong Kong Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Japanese Yen, Swedish Kronar, Swiss Francs or any other type of designated foreign currency).

Minimum Investment and Minimum Account Balance
US$ 10,000/= or its equivalent in any of the designated foreign currencies or equivalent amount of Sri Lanka Rupees.

Tax Exemption
All SFIDA accounts are exempted from Income Tax, Withholding Tax, Debit Tax and other levies.

Rate of Interest - General Guidelines
• For Sri Lanka Rupee accounts prevalent interest rates stipulated in the Treasury Notice.
• For foreign currency deposits prevalent interest rates applicable to NRFC accounts of the relevant bank.
• Note: For larger deposits, interest rates could generally be negotiated.

Permitted Credits
• Proceeds of inward remittances received from abroad through banking system.
• Foreign currency in the form of travellers' cheques, bank drafts or bank notes brought in to the country by the account holder on the declaration to Sri Lanka customs as applicable during his temporary visits to Sri Lanka and tendered in person to the Authorised Dealer, provided that the travellers' cheques have been issued outside Sri Lanka and the bank drafts endorsed in the name of the account holder.
• Interest accruing on the funds held in the account.

Permitted Debits
• Outward remittances
• Transfers to other SFIDA accounts
• Disbursements of the account holder in Sri Lanka
• Relevant statutory payments such as debit tax

Additional Information
• Sri Lankan Banks offering SFIDA Accounts
• Commercial Bank, Sri Lanka offers SFIDA Accounts for Foreign and Sri Lankan Investors

Related Info :
Securities Investment Accounts (SIA) Replace SIERA & TIERA Accounts - For Investment in Sri Lankan Equity, Debt and Unit Trusts
Sri Lanka Offers Special Visas to Investors, Professionals & Senior Citizens


  1. One has to compare return on Treasuries and Bank Deposits before making a commitment. Sometimes, bank deposits may pay more.

  2. Foreign ownership of Sri Lanka Treasurise are limited -- I suppose to 10% of the total issue. Where as SFIDA is NOT limited by any such rule.

  3. With the incresing interest rates offered onTreasury Bill/Bonds, Sri Lanka government securities will again attract world attention. Don't forget that Investors in US & Europe has nowhere to go but Asian countries that offer better rates and security. Especially the concerns about sovereign defaults of European nations are in the air now!


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