Investing in Sri Lanka ADRs / Sri Lanka Stocks List

There are no Sri Lanka ADRs trading on major US stock exchanges like the NYSE or the NASDAQ. After the end of a devastating 26-year civil war in 2009, Sri Lanka began rebuilding and its economy was growing. This made the Sri Lanka stock market a potentially attractive emerging market or frontier market for foreign investors.

However and in 2022, Sri Lanka defaulted on foreign debts for the first time since independence and became mired in economic and political crisis. The country had become too dependent on foreign tourism (which dried up after a series of 2019 bomb blasts) and exports (namely garments and export-oriented crops). A misguided ban on all fertilizer imports (since lifted) to protect FX reserves then led to a serious fall in agricultural production, and more food imports became necessary.

Nevertheless and despite these issues, Sri Lankans themselves are well educated (a 94% literacy rate) and speak fluent English – qualities that have helped the country to develop and grow a niche outsourcing industry that serves Fortune 500 companies from around the world (Note: Publicly traded Indian BPOs have have set up operations in the country). Sri Lanka also has the highest number of UK-qualified accountants outside of the UK – something that has attracted the attention of financial services firms ranging from insurance companies to investment banks who have set up their portfolio and analytics divisions in the country.

In addition, Sri Lanka has the most liberalized economy in the notoriously closed South Asian region as foreign investors receive preferential tax rates, constitutional guarantees on investment agreements and exemptions from foreign exchange controls.

Aside from Sri Lanka, investors should also check out our other South Asia investing lists, including our South Asia ADR lists (including India ADR and Pakistan ADR lists) and India closed-end fund list as well as our BICK ETF list, BRIC ETF list, China/India ETF list, South Asia ETF list and India ETF list pages.

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE)Sri Lanka ADRs

With origins dating back to 1896, the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is the main Sri Lankan stock exchange with approximately 300 listed companies representing 20 business sectors.

Foreign investors interested in Sri Lanka stocks should be aware that the All Share Price Index (ASPI) measures the movement of share prices for all listed companies on the Colombo Stock Exchange while the S&P Sri Lanka 20 Index (S&P SL20) follows the performance of 20 leading publicly traded companies plus there are also some 20 sector indices.

However, the most important listed company would be John Keells Holdings Plc, a diversified conglomerate founded in the 1870s with interests in the transportation, leisure, property, consumer foods and retail, financial services, information technology and other sectors. Some of its more well known holdings to foreign tourists or expats might include Ceylon Cold Stores, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Chaaya Hotels and Resorts, Cinnamon Air and Mack Air. The stock has historically accounted for roughly 10% of the Colombo Stock Exchange’s capitalization and its the only Sri Lankan stock with a foreign listing (albeit the listing is in Luxembourg).

Sri Lanka Brokerage Accounts

Foreign retail investors interested in owning individual Sri Lanka stocks, it might be possible to open a brokerage account with a Sri Lanka brokerage or investment groups who are members or trading members of the Colombo Stock Exchange. In addition, a number of Sri Lanka brokerages offer online stock trading.

In addition and for a VERY GOOD discussion about how a foreigner can open a brokerage account in Sri Lanka along with other important considerations for foreign retail investors, see Sri Lanka’s Brokerages: Investing In The Colombo Stock Exchange on Jon Springer’s Seeking Alpha Instablog account. Jon had met with some of the CEOs of important Sri Lanka brokerage firms and his article gives a good overview about how these firms operate.

Sri Lanka Investment Resources

The following are some important English language Sri Lanka newspapers or magazines:

For additional resources for investing in Sri Lanka, check out all of our Sri Lanka tagged articles/links.

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