03rd April 2013, www.lankabusinessonline.com
Sri Lanka's Colombo Stockbrokers Association launched a website and a code of ethics which officials said would improve professional standards and investor confidence.
"By introducing these Principles of Best Practices, we are intent on promoting professional standards among our members," CSBA president and head of Asha Phillips Securities Dimuthu Abeysekera said.
"This will in turn enhance investor confidence prompting the industry to undoubtedly enjoy benefits of a vibrant market place."
The website www.colombostockbrokers.com will also have research for potential investors.
Chairman of Sri Lanka's Securities and Exchange Commission Nalaka Godahewa said more research was needed to educate investors.
Godahewa said the worst was over for the market with 18 months of decline ending.
"But I think all the problems we had at that time, the bad feeling, the bad publicity, the difficulties, accusing each other, mistrust excuses they are all now history," he said.
"We have brought back stability to the market. When we say we, all of us together."
The code was devised by a committee under Ravi Abeysuriya, of Heraymila Securities.
Head of Acuity Stockbrokers Deva Ellepola said even stockbrokers who were not members of the CSBA also contributed to the code and he hoped they would join the association again.
Several stockbrokers quit the association during the collapse of a stock market bubble as controversial measures were taken with some high net worth investors to counter credit rules and other action of the regulator amid allegations of widespread securities fraud.
Foreign investors who sold out during the bubble, are now coming back buying into several fundamentally strong companies with strong management whose valuations have improved with falling prices.
But small investors who bought fundamentally weak shares with margin credit which were also pumped up with margin credit in some cases, are in losses licking their wounds and are not active.
Sri Lanka's stock market bubble was fired by excess liquidity that built up in the banking system largely from inflows of foreign money, driving interest rates down amid euphoria from the end of a 30-year civil war.
Analysts say fraud and mischief always rocket up when lose money drive up stocks.
The world's first SEC in the US was also created after the collapse of a stock bubble in the late 1920s which was fired by excessive Federal Reserve money printing and margin credit.
One of the most well documented of such stock bubbles is one that occurred in France in the 1790s with the introduction of the Assignat paper fiat money.
Excessive printing of Assignats eventually led to the collapse of the French economy amid speculation, inflation, price controls and widespread corruption.
"For at the great metropolitan centers grew a luxurious, speculative, stock-gambling body, which, like a malignant tumor, absorbed into itself the strength of the nation and sent out its cancerous fibres to the remotest hamlets," Andrew Dickson White wrote in his iconic work Fiat Money Inflation in France
"At these city centers abundant wealth seemed to be piled up: in the country at large, there grew a dislike of steady labor and a contempt for moderate gains and simple living.
"Nor was this reckless and corrupt spirit confined to business men; it began to break out in official circles, and public men who, a few years before, had been thought above all possibility of taint, became luxurious, reckless, cynical and finally corrupt."
"It grew as naturally as a fungus on a muck heap. It was first felt in business operations, but soon began to be seen in the legislative body and in journalism," wrote White.
Many of those involved were later guillotined and France returned to the gold money again.
Sri Lanka's interest rates are now higher and inflation is falling, though the currency has also depreciated making everyone poorer and destroying the real value of investible savings in banks.
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