Context: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) unveiled its new logo at a ceremony marking the regulatory body’s 35th foundation day.
What is SEBI?
- Establishment: The Securities and Exchange Board of India was established as a statutory body in the year 1992.
- The provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 came into force on January 30, 1992.
- History: Before SEBI came into existence, Controller of Capital Issues was the regulatory authority; it derived authority from the Capital Issues (Control) Act, 1947.
- In 1988, SEBI was constituted as the regulator of capital markets in India.
- Initially, SEBI was a non-statutory body without any statutory power.
- Following the passage of the SEBI Act by Parliament in 1992, it was given autonomous and statutory powers.
- Structure: SEBI Board consists of a Chairman and several other whole time and part time members.
What are Powers and Functions of SEBI?
- Main functions: It is the regulator of the securities and commodity market in India owned by the Government of India.
- SEBI also aims to check fraudulence by harmonising its statutory regulations and self-regulating business.
- It also enables a competitive professional market for intermediaries.
- SEBI provides a marketplace in which the issuers can increase finance properly.
- It also ensures safety and supply of precise and accurate information from the investors.
- SEBI analyses the trading of stocks and saves the security market from the malpractices.
- It controls the stockbrokers and sub- stockbrokers.
- It provides education regarding the market to the investors to enhance their knowledge.
- Powers: It is a quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial body which can draft regulations, conduct inquiries, pass rulings and impose penalties.
- SEBI has powers to regulate any pooling of funds for investments aggregating Rs 100 crore or more by an individual or a company.
- Chairman SEBI has powers to authorize the carrying out of search and seizure operations.
What is Securities Appellate Tribunal?
- Securities Appellate Tribunal is a statutory body established under the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
- Its main function is to hear and dispose of appeals against orders passed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
- The Tribunal has the same powers as are vested in a civil court.
- Person aggrieved by any order or decision of Securities Appellate Tribunal can file an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Challenges Faced by SEBI
- Concentration of powers: SEBI as a regulator fuses the three branches of the legislative, executive and judicial. This has created a tremendous concentration of power and financial firms fear to challenge the regulator.
- Independent directors: The SEBI Board lacks a majority of independent directors, which could be a countervailing force.
- Lack of detailed investigations: Punishments are often being imposed without the basic process of an investigation and a hearing.
- The punishment of stopping financial markets activity imposes high costs upon different firms.
- The arbitrary power wielded in the executive and quasi-judicial functions at SEBI is inconsistent with a liberal democracy.
- Stringent punishment: It can impose serious restraints on economic activity; this is done based on suspicion, leaving it to those affected to shoulder the burden of disproving the suspicion, somewhat like preventive detention.
- Lack of proper regulations: Regulation, either rules or enforcement, is far from perfect, particularly in areas like insider trading.
- Change in attitude: There is need of an attitudinal change, despite the fact that market contains large number of crooks, necessitating a crackdown and severe intervention.
- The foremost objective of SEBI should be cleaning up the policy space in this area of the market.
- Improve human resource: SEBI must give special attention to human resources and matters within the organization. SEBI must encourage lateral entry to draw the best talent.
- Improving market intelligence: Enforcement can be strengthened with continuous monitoring and improving market intelligence.
- India’s financial markets are still segmented. One regulator can’t be blamed for another’s failure when the remit over a financial product overlaps.
- Unified financial regulator: A unified financial regulator makes eminent sense to remove both overlap and excluded boundaries.