Putting to rest the speculation on who will head the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) after February 17 when UK Sinha’s three-year term comes to an end, the government has decided to extend Sinha’s term as the chairman of the regulator for a period of two years.
Sinha will now head the regulatory body till March 16, 2016, a source close to the development told The Indian Express. Sinha who took charge as the Sebi chairman on February 18, 2011, from CB Bhave, who did not get an extension after his term came to an end in February 2011. In fact, among the last four chairmen, Sinha is the only one whose term has been extended.
His three predecessors — GN Bajpai (2002-2005), M Damodaran (2005-2008) and CB Bhave (2008-2011) — had only got a three-year terms. DR Mehta, with a term of seven years, is the only Sebi chief to have held the post for a longer duration than Sinha.
While the three whole-time members at Sebi had a five year term, Sinha was the only one with a three year term. A senior Sebi official, however, said that the move was on expected lines.
Being an election year, the development will lead to certainty on regulatory moves and will also provide Sinha with the time to focus on unfinished agendas.
Sinha had joined Sebi after serving as the chairman and MD of UTI AMC amidst the noise around the alleged 2G spectrum allocation scam where several listed companies were allegedly involved. This was the time when the mutual fund industry was also trying to cope up with the no-entry load regime.
Over the last three years Sinha had taken several steps to revive the mutual fund industry, to improve and expedite the IPO process and in the area of curbing insider trading practices.
However, Sebi’s strong moves against illegal collective investment schemes and also against the Sahara Group, under his tenure, where it went up to the Supreme Court for refund of investor’s money amounting to up to Rs 24,000 crore, have been noteworthy.
Sinha also called for powers of search and seizure, access to call data records and powers to recover its dues to enhance Sebi’s power, which have already been provided to it through an ordinance passed by the President.
Talking about the issues of future, the Sebi chairman had earlier in an interview to The Indian Express told that the regulator needs to be better prepared for technological challenges on risk management, work towards enhancing trust in the market and increase retail participation.
Sinha, an ex-Indian Administrative Service officer, has held several positions with the State and Central governments. He was also the chairman of the working group on foreign investment in India formed by the government and was a member of several government committees such as committees on liquidity management, FIIs, corporate bond market and investor protection.