With Sri Lanka moving away from a fixed exchange rate to a managed floating rate in November 1977 and a unified exchange rate with the cost of FEEC (Foreign Exchange Entitlement Certificate) added to the new exchange rate and the abolition of FEEC. The foreign exchange and money market activities among the banks picked up with a considerable volume of operations in the late seventies and eighties.
It is at this stage that one sunny evening in January 1982, a few dealers from the banks met at the right place and time over a ‘spread of good cheer’ and by the time good byes were exchanged, an informal meeting was arranged for the 29th January 1982 at the HSBC officer’s mess with the kind courtesy of Mr. Sarath Piyaratne of his bank. If I remember right 16 of the 22 banks attended the meeting. It was unanimously decided to form a forex club and a 7 member pro-tem committee was appointed to draft the constitution and set up the club. Mr. Freddie Jayarajah served as pro-tem chairman.
The committee met regularly at the HSBC mess and after much deliberation and correspondence with banks locally and overseas, and keeping in constant touch with the Secretary General ACI (Association Cambiste Internationale) Mr. Geoffrey Munn drew up the draft constitution for approval at the Inaugural meeting of the dealers. This draft constitution was unanimously adopted at this meeting held at the then Hotel Taprobane on 6th August 1982 with the kind courtesy of the Bank of Ceylon. All dealers nominated by banks attended this meeting.
Mr. A Kathiravelupillai (Bank of Ceylon) was elected the Pro-tem Chairman and steered the adoption of the constitution and the election of the 1st President of the club who was elected unanimously and so were the other members of the committee of management.
The committee decided to hold the official inauguration of the club on 22nd January 1983 followed by a cocktail party at the ‘C G Room of the Galle Face Hotel’ with the Hon. Acting Minister of Finance Mr. M. H. M. Naina Marikar as the Chief Guest, Dr. Warnasena Rasaputra as the Guest of Honour, Chief Executives from all the commercial Banks, Senior officials from the Central and commercial banks and chairman and executives from the business community. All the money Brokers too were invited, as they were key players in the forex and money market. The ready response from the banks was noteworthy and wide publicity was given to the event in the mass media, press, radio and television.
The Secretary General ACI Mr. Geoffrey Munn intimated to us that our Application for international affiliation to the Association Cambiste Internationale was receiving their favorable consideration.
The President and Secretary of ACI sent the club the following message "Heartiest congratulations on the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the Sri Lanka Forex Club. Very pleased to receive your application for affiliation to ACI, which I am happy, to put to the central committee as it stands for recommendation to the council. Very best wishes from us for a successful meeting and a bright future for your club."
As a matter of urgency the committee adopted improvement in technical standards as a priority and several seminars and talks were organized namely financial futures, gold swaps, charting futures and options. Another important subject Foreign Exchange Risk and Controls with case study and discussions they were all resource personnel from overseas. A talk by Jose Hanna VP from Citibank, Singapore in his own inimitable style introduced himself ‘I was born in Brazil live in Singapore, work for an American bank, drive a Japanese car write with a French pen ‘Mont blanc’ and presently talking to dealers in Sri Lanka’
The club organized a day outing for its members for fellowship and friendship so essential in the dealing trade. A dealers word is ones bond and the need for togetherness.
On 29th March, 1983 the President of the SLFC received a telex message from the Secretary General ACI Mr. Geoffrey Munn advising him that the approval of the council of ACI to the affiliation of the Sri Lanka Forex Club as the 45th member of ACI. And the President was invited for the next council meeting in Luxembourg on 3rd June the same year followed by the International Congress. The President accepted the invitation and attended the council meeting and took part in its deliberations. He was successful in making a case for the participation by Sri Lanka at the ACI Junior Forex Seminar in Singapore. The President Forex Club Singapore Mr. Mukundan readily agreed to allot two places for the Sri Lanka Forex Club. Dealers from Hatton National Bank and Banque Indosuez attended the seminar.
The Forex Club received help from many quarters and we were reasonably proud of our fledgling club. Since 1982 the Club has undergone several changes, first with its logo, then a change of name, the introduction of brokers, and personnel dealing in the FX and money market. Membership in the club too has grown immensely from the 67 members at the inception. It is the earnest wish of all members that the Sri Lanka Forex Club now known as the Sri Lanka Forex Association will grow from strength to strength and members remain in future Action "ALWAYS A DEALER"
By Late Mr Freddie Jayarajah, Founder President
Mr. Rihaan Shakoor
Bank of Ceylon
Mr. Tivanka Damunupola
Commercial Bank of Ceylon LC
Ms. Trimalie Fernando
Mr. Brian Joseph
Habib Bank Ltd