Getting Started

Thank you for your interest in becoming a client

 The Central Depository Systems, in its Digitalization initiatives launched the new CSE Mobile App, with an end-to-end digital onboarding and online account opening feature that removes the barriers to entry for new investors and enables any eligible prospective investor around the country to open a CDS account to trade in the market without the need to visit a branch office.

With the new online account opening feature offered by the CSE Mobile App, prospective local retail investors can now get started with investing instantly with their account opening.

Further, the CDS by Circular 03-02-2022 has discontinued acceptance of hard copies for account opening.  In line with the digitalization plans for 2021/2022, the CDS enabled a suite of services such as the Online Account Opening via CSE App, CDS e-Connect for Account Holders to update their profile details, and an e-IPO facility to apply for IPOs.

Clients who wish to subscribe to CDS E-Statements and SMS Alerts should should fill the CDS 28 Form. (Section 02)

Online Trading

Account opening form


  • The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) offers advanced infrastructure and systems for the trading of equity.
  • The Automated Trading System is an online real-time system which provides for the secondary trading of equity.
  • Post-trade clearing and settlement of transactions are executed through the Central Depository System (CDS)
  • The Exchange is open for continuous trading from Monday to Friday from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm.
  • The settlement for equity transactions is on the third market day after the transaction ie. T+3.

Foreign investments in listed company shares

 The issuance of shares by resident companies to foreign investors (non-residents) are permitted without prior approval of the Exchange Control Department subject to certain exclusions and limitations. Movement of funds of such transactions must be through a scheme of account titled “Inward Investment Account” (IIA). The IIA would be credited by inward remittances received in convertible foreign currencies from the investors. The dividends and sales proceeds realized on this investment account are remittable through this account.


Non-resident applicants have to open an IIA with a bank in Sri Lanka. The CDS account can be opened only after the IIA is opened. If a Custodian Bank is involved, the Custodian Bank will open the IIA and the CDS Account.




Negotiated Block Trades

Negotiated block trades can be done on the Crossings Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange.

The following are CSE Rules on Crossings

  • A Crossing shall not take place at a price below 5% of the closing price. No price cap will be enforced
  • The Transaction value must be more than Rs 20 million OR the size of the parcel should be more than 5% of the issued number of shares.

Ownership Restriction on Banks

The maximum percentage of ownership in the issued share capital carrying voting rights in a bank is 15%. This limit applies to acquisitions or holding of shares by all categories of shareholders, individuals or groups, whether acquired/held directly or through a nominee or acting in concert with any other categories of shareholders.

Prior approval is required from the Monetary Board to acquire shares carrying votings rights in excess of 10% of a licenced commercial bank.

The Monetary Board may grant permission to acquire shares in excess of 15% in the case of a licenced bank which requires restructuring to avoid inadequacy of capital, insolvency or potential failure, subject to the condition that the ownership of shares so acquired shall be reduced to 15% within a specified period as may be determined by the Monetary Board on a case by case basis, provided also that such period shall not exceed five years from the date of granting permission.

Mandatory Offers

The Takeover and Mergers Code requires a Manadatory Offer to be made once a person or group of persons acting in concert acquire a holding of more than 30% of the voting rights of a company. A mandatory offer will also have to be made if a person, either by himself, or with associates or nominees (together holding between 30-50% of the issued shares of a company) acquire 2% or more of the issued shares of the company, during any 12 month period.

In a Mandatory Offer, the price offered for a share should not be less than the highest price paid by the offeror during the previous 12 months.

Withholding Tax

A 14% Withholding Tax is deducted on dividends declared by companies.

Transaction Costs on the Colombo Stock Exchange

Transaction cost applicable for equity & debt securities given below:

Equity – with effect from 27th June 2017

Transactions up to Rs. 100 Million – 1.12%
Divided as follows:
Brokerage Fees 0.640%
CSE Fees 0.084%
CDS Fees 0.024%
SEC Cess 0.072%
Share Transaction Levy 0.300%

Transactions over Rs. 100 Million

Minimum brokerage (floor) 0.200%
CSE Fees 0.0525%
CDS Fees 0.0150%
SEC Cess 0.0450%
Share Transaction Levy 0.300%

Transaction Cost will be applied on a step up basis for transactions over Rs. 100 Million.

Eg :

Consider a transaction of Rs.102Mn. The transaction cost of 1.12% will be applicable for the first Rs. 100 Million and 0.6125%* will be applicable for the balance amount, as in the example below:

Transaction Value (Rs.)
102 Million
100 Million 2 Million Total
Consolidated Fees (%) 1.1200 0.6125*
(Rs.) 1,120,000 12,250 1,132,250

*0.6125% includes the negotiated brokerage assumed as 0.2% for the purpose of this calculation.

Intra day Trading

With effect from 15th February 2006, the transaction fee due to the broker, CSE, CDS and SEC on intra day trades, where a client buys and sells or sells and buys the same security on the same day through the same broker will not be charged on one side of the transaction.

    • In the event the total number of shares purchased does not equal the total number of shares sold, the transaction fees as detailed above will not be levied on the lower quantity of shares either purchased or sold.
    • In the event the total quantity purchased is equal to the total quantity sold the transaction fees will not be levied from the sales transaction.

Please note that the total purchases and sales of a client in the same security will be considered for purpose of determining the exemption of the Brokerage, CSE, CDS and SEC fees (transaction fee).Share Transaction Levy will be charged from both sides of the transaction.


1. Client X’s trades in ABC shares on particular day


Total Purchases = 5,000 shares
Total Sales = 4,000 shares

No transaction fee will be levied on the 4,000 shares sold,apart from the Share Transaction Levy.

II. Client V’s trades in ABC shares on a particular day


Total Purchases = 900 shares
Total Sales = 1,500 shares

No transaction fee will be levied on the 900 shares purchased,apart from the Share Transaction Levy.

Crossings (Block Trades) will not be considered for the exemption of Brokerage, CSE, CDS and SEC fees.


In instances where fixed brokerage applies, a Stockbroker Firm may receive not less than 50% of the applicable brokerage from a foreign client, only if a foreign broker is involved in a transaction.

Corporate Debt

Brokerage – Negotiable

Fees (SEC, CSE & CDS) – 2 Basis Points (Divided equally amongst the three institutions)

Government Debt

Brokerage – Negotiable

Closed End Funds

Fees based on a Percentage (%) of the Transaction value

Brokerage Negotiable with a Cap of 1 %
CSE Fee 0.02%
CDS Fee 0.01%
SEC Cess 0.02%

Share Transaction Levy will not be applicable for units of Closed-end Funds.