Regulations delay Sri Lanka fintech innovations at Dialog Finance

Sri Lanka’s Dialog Finance Plc said that it could not fully invest public money raised in two rights issues in planned fintech products because of delays in regulatory approvals.

Dialog Finance, a unit of telco Dialog Axiata Plc, has been planning to launch fintech products to expand its business and reach the unbanked and underbanked communities in Sri Lanka.

The fintech suite of products had been submitted for regulatory approvals in the 2018/19 financial year, the firm’s latest annual report said.

“…the loanbook of the company was not expanded as planned due to delays in regulatory approvals for fintech products,” the firm said in a stock market disclosure.

Dialog Finance had raised 599 million rupees in 2018 of which 548 million rupees have been used, while just 1.5 million rupees have been used from a 764 million rupee rights issue in 2019.

“Therefore, the funds which have not been utilised have been invested in banks in the form of fixed deposits, call deposits and money market savings accounts,” the firm said.

“The unutilized funds will be utilised gradually with the growth of the loan book.”

New timelines on the utilisation of funds following the delays will be notified to shareholders in the future, Dialog Fiance said.

In the 2018/19 annual report, chairman Hans Wijesuriya had called for regulatory innovations to help fintech become a success and bring greater financial inclusion for the masses.(Colombo/Jan08/2019)

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