Conrad Dias


The industry faces diverse challenges in the midst of economic contraction

Today’s financial services industry
It’s a crucial and challenging time for the industry, given the economic contraction, hyperinflation and potentially very high interest rates.

The impact of the above
All these factors will impact credit growth and raise the risk of carrying nonperforming assets.

Impact of the pandemic on financial services
The resilience of the financial services industry enabled it to withstand near zero and negative economic growth.

Help needed
By extending support through mora¬toriums, and offering waivers to affected customers and industries.

Way forward
The crisis has pushed the industry to go digital; and be more nimble, agile and innovative when offering digital financial services.

Role of financial services insti¬tutions in economic recovery
There is a need for continuous access to credit and capital – and assistance for secondary markets.

For which sector in particular
The micro SME sector.

Core strengths of the financial services industry
Sturdy capital structure and close monitoring by the regulator – this will strengthen the industry by consolidating smaller entities with bigger players.

Obstacles to growth
Low to negative GDP growth.

Others factors
Potential interest rate hikes will be another factor that would further contribute to lower GDP growth; and consequently hamper development.

Room for improvement
As an industry, it can develop more products and open policies for nontraditional asset financing – especially for startups and projects, as well as investment banking.

These are clear areas for improvement that will have a direct impact on GDP growth and the economy.

Evolving consumer trends or behaviour
Online and real time have become the norms. Consumers want ‘context aware’ financial services; and they demand convenience and personalisation.

The cost of new norms
They will pay a premium for a speedy response.

Impact of digitalisation
It’s immense since it offers more op¬portunities to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and serve a larger segment.

And this is vital because…
It’s being done while staying relevant in the ‘new economy’ business model.

Blockchain and the future
Financial services are functioning with enormous trust and centralised control, which have inefficiencies and costs attached to it.

This means that…
Blockchain creates the potential to bring efficiency through decentralisation and ‘trust eliminated’ financial services.

Prospective customer segments
There are segments that aren’t yet serviced by formal financial services; and there’s another segment that comprises digital natives, which needs to be serviced differently.

The importance of the twin segments
I believe these two segments are keys to both economic development and defining the future of financial services.

Financial services in five years’ time
It needs to be digitally transformed and become part of the new economy by financing virtual assets in the metaverse while working with traditional physical assets as well.

Impact of the digital age on Sri Lanka
Its impact is profound on the country’s social and economic – and even political – scenarios. It impacts all aspects of governance and business, as well as personal lives.

Impact of social media on the world at large
In a short span of time, social media became an integral part of everyday life – both positively and negatively.

The future scenario
The negative impact will fade away as more and more people understand how, when and what to trust on social media.

Future of Sri Lanka
That’s a tricky question to answer under the current circumstances. But since we’re an extremely resilient nation, we can come out of this.

The need of the hour
We need to do well with the right leadership.

Areas for improvement by local corporate professionals
Espouse ethics, principles, honesty and integrity.

Your mantra for success
‘First principles thinking’ – keep it simple and transparent.

Competition and innovation
In response to competition, innovation flows through an organisation; as a result, every-one starts doing well, serving better and being the best they can be.

– Compiled by Isanka Perera

Conrad Dias is a Director and the Chief Executive Officer of LOLC Finance