Global trading
Lankan working across international borders
The eight clocks on the wall within seeing distance from his table – showing the time in New York, London, Oslo, Norway, Egypt, Moscow, Dubai, Manila and Beijing –provides any visitor to Romesh C de Silva’s office some idea of what his profession is.

Welcome to the world of the global trader. De Silva - the youngest person in Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and the Maldives to be admitted a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales - is an international trader dealing with buyers and business associates across the world.

De Silva, whose background has been mostly in corporate finance, now acts for buyers and negotiates deals between two prospective parties with a specific focus in mind - promoting Sri Lankan products.

"That's my primary job - promoting Sri Lankan goods to foreign buyers," he said adding that this was a skill honed through experience of different sorts in the corporate world. De Silva, who shared some thoughts on a range of issues, believes that Sri Lankans are a skilled lot and have a distinct advantage of being proficient in English and offering quality products or service.

He began his career in Sri Lanka at the tax and corporate finance divisions of Coopers & Lybrand in 1995, and then moved to Asia Capital as Assistant Vice President of Corporate Finance. He was also the Finance & Commercial Manager at Reckitt Benkiser in 2001 before concentrating on his own business as a sourcing specialist.

De Silva believes the secret to success in business is to provide a complete service to a client - whether a trading inquiry succeeds or not. "I have always returned calls and quickly responded to email inquiries from outside creating a credible profile for a Sri Lankan firm for being reliable.”

He said in this business being patient is vital. It can take six months to merely instill confidence in a new contact. Being in touch by calling them regularly helps cement that relationship. “I play chess a lot. It helps in the patience and waiting game and also to strategise." His company Global Trading Point (Pvt) Ltd of which he is the managing director has exported garments and other products.

De Silva has had a distinguished academic record, obtaining a First Class in Mathematics and Computing from King's College, University of London and thereafter being admitted as an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales and doing his articles at Coopers and Lybrand at their head office in London.

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