Banking and finance in Sri Lanka

D. L. & F. De Saram

D. L. & F. De Saram has a skilled team that is adept at advising on both domestic and cross-border banking and finance projects. Key members of the team include Savantha De Saram , Prabash De Saram  and Aloka Nandasena. The department routinely acts as local counsel on major cross-border transactions alongside leading international law firms. It has considerable expertise in a diverse range of banking and finance matters including acquisition financing as well as secured and unsecured syndicated lending. It is also recommended for its advice on exchange control laws and derivative products. Aruni Marcelline is another key member of the team that predominantly acts for multinational corporations, financial institutions and international banks.

Other key lawyers:

Aruni Marcelline; Hansi Abayaratne


It has  a good and a technically sound team‘.

‘Savantha De Saram is an experienced practitioner. Hansi Abayaratne is responsive and reliable‘.


Key clients

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group / Nexi S.p.A

Pan Asia Banking Corporation and Symbiotics SA

Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait BSC


Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Sri Lanka

Citibank, N.A., Singapore Branch

Wells Fargo Bank, N. A

Capital Alliance Partners Limited

Standard Chartered Bank – Sri Lanka

Work highlights

  • Advised the client on the financing of JPY 10bn that was granted to the Ministry of Finance to construct the Central Expressway in Sri Lanka.
  • Advised the client on the  issue of a $7.75m green bond via the Symbiotics’ sponsored bond issuance platform under the Sustainability, Social and Green Bond Framework .
  • Advised the client on a facility for $20m that is being granted by the client to the People’s Bank (this is a licensed commercial bank  that was established under the People’s Bank Act No. 29 of 1961 as amended).

Julius & Creasy

Julius & Creasy has a first-rate team that regularly acts as local counsel to international lenders on large syndicated loans when they are granted to domestic banks, companies and the government of Sri Lanka. It also garners praise for its advice on setting up banks, debt trading and on issues relating to derivatives. The team has particular expertise in aircraft leasing and has also been busy advising local lenders on the full array of banking and regulatory matters. Other strengths lie in advising on sub-custodianship matters. Head of department is Janaki Kumaraguru whose expertise spans leveraged finance, trade financing as well as regulatory issues. Priya Sivagananathan is well-regarded too for her work on the full spectrum of  banking and finance matters.

Practice head(s):

Janaki Kumaraguru

Other key lawyers:

Priya Sivagananathan

Key clients

Air Lease Corporation

Avolon Aerospace International

Work highlights

  • Advising Air Lease Corporation on the sale and financing of an aircraft.
  • Advising Avolon Aerospace International on the sale and the novation of an aircraft lease.

Nithya Partners

Nithya Partners has a strong banking and finance offering under the leadership of Naomal Goonewardena. It continues to be involved in a number of large transactions particularly on multi-jurisdictional financings and debt issuances by corporate entities and the Government of Sri Lanka. The nimble team does a substantial amount of work with major international banks and continues to advise large leasing and finance companies. It also has particular strength in international bond offerings, debt structuring, structured financing as well as other matters such as regulatory compliance, trade finance, and Islamic finance. In addition, the department regularly advises overseas banking entities on debt financing in Sri Lanka as well as on proposals to enter the domestic market.

Practice head(s):

Naomal Goonewardena

Other key lawyers:

Peshala Attygalle


Naomal Goonewardena – he just has a brilliant mind. He’s my go to person for structuring complex and innovative transactions‘.

Key clients

Sampath Bank PLC

Seylan Bank PLC

National Development Bank

China Development Bank

Bank of China Limited

Citibank N.A.

Standard Chartered Bank

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the People’s Bank, a state owned bank, on the first issuance of a Basel III compliant debenture.
  • Advised on the issue of 50m  listed rated senior unsecured redeemable debentures 2019-2024 each of the par value of Sri Lankan Rupees One Hundred (LKR 100/-) by LOLC Holdings PLC.
  • Acted as lawyers to the syndicated lenders on two large loans that were granted by Bank of Ceylon, National Development Bank PLC and National Savings Bank to Indocean Developers (Private) Limited.

F. J. & G. De Saram

F. J. & G. De Saram advises a sizeable number of leading banks and financial institutions in Sri Lanka as well as various agencies. It is skilled at handling matters related to syndicated and term loans, securitisations and new financial products. Ayomi Aluwihare-Gunawardene is among the primary contacts.

Other key lawyers:

Ayomi Aluwihare-Gunawardene

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan)

Neelakandan & Neelakandan (formerly Murugesu & Neelakandan) has been busy advising banking syndicates comprising leading local and international banks on many financing arrangements for infrastructure projects and power projects in particular. Key areas of expertise include debt structuring, loan agreements, trade financing and banking regulations as well as Islamic financing. Saravanan Neelakandan and Pranavan Neelakandan are at the helm.

Key clients

Citibank N.A.

American Express Bank

Standard Chartered Bank

Public Bank Berhad

National Savings Bank

Indian Overseas Bank

First Capital PLC

Arpico Finance PLC

Orient Finance PLC

Shinhan Bank of Korea

World Bank

NXT Capital LLC

Credit Suisse (USA)

Qatar National Bank (Singapore)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Work highlights

  • Instructed by Goldberg Kohn (USA) to advise NXT Capital LLC / Credit Suisse (USA) on security documentation in relation to a large loan.  
  • Advised a major international bank on the local law aspects of a large loan.
  • Continuing to advise First Capital PLC on various matters including on regulatory matters involving the Central Bank.

Sudath Perera Associates

Sudath Perera Associates fields a skilled team that is adept at advising local and international businesses, financial institutions and major banks on the full array of banking matters. Core strengths include advising on loan agreements, credit facilities, project and infrastructure financing as well as insolvency proceedings and acquisition financing. It also has considerable experience in shipping and aircraft financing as well substantial expertise in financial litigation. Names to note are Kaushalya Meedeniya and Gamini Balasooriya. Niluka Wickremesinghe is another key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Kaushalya Meedeniya


The team possesses an in-depth knowledge of the banking and finance industry particularly in the area of debt recovery and money recovery matters pertaining to the finance industry‘.

The team – particularly Kaushalya Meedeniya who is a Partner of the firm and is the key contact for our account has a hands-on knowledge on the subject of debt and money recovery litigation in the finance industry and has a methodical yet practical approach to cases referred. Our experience with the firm and Kaushalya in particular has been terrific. We have greatly benefited from her advice and timely attendance to our requirements’.


Key clients

The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd

Standard Chartered Bank

National Development Bank PLC

Dialog Finance PLC

Prime Finance PLC

Tiruchelvam Associates

Tiruchelvam Associates has a knowledgeable team that is skilled at advising on various local banking regulations and licensing requirements as well as on the country's banking directives and its foreign exchange laws.  It frequently liaises with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on banking matters and has considerable expertise in e-commerce matters too. Head of department Ramani Muttettuwegama is recommended. Asanka Abeysekera is also well-regarded and senior associate Nirosha Peiris is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Ramani Muttettuwegama

Other key lawyers:

Asanka Abeysekera; Nirosha Peiris

Work highlights

  • Advised a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the Republic of Korea on the laws and regulatory regime in Sri Lanka – such advice has included advising on bribery, corruption and money laundering in the country.