New Delhi: Safeguarding investors’ interest and spreading financial literacy will be at the forefront in capital markets regulator Sebi’s scheme of things in 2017, after a year marked with several reform measures and increased traction for mutual funds and IPOs.
Besides, Sebi is hopeful about several new investment avenues — such as Real Estate and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (REITs and InvITs), Municipal Bonds and Startup listings — to progress ahead, as also for the numerous measures for deepening of bond market to begin yielding desired results.
A senior official said the regulator will give special attention to these new products in the new year to ensure their success and has been already open to all positive suggestions to make these new vehicles investor-friendly.
Some of the key developments during 2016 included inauguration of the new National Institute of Securities Market (NISM) campus at Patalganga, increased capital raising through IPOs (over Rs 26,000 crore) and increased inflow into mutual funds.
Besides, Applications Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA) facility was made compulsory, reduction in listing time from T+12 to T+6 and strengthening of the risk management in commodity derivatives market were other key steps that Sebi put in place to safeguard the interest of investors under Chairman U K Sinha.
The new year would also see a leadership change at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) as Sinha’s tenure would come to an end on March 1. The search and selection process to find his successor is already underway.
The new campus NISM, an educational initiative of Sebi, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month and it will help in fulfilling the demand for adequate qualified securities market professionals.
In the primary market, a renewed buoyancy was seen with 26 companies collectively raising over Rs 26,000 crore. ASBA was made compulsory from January 2016 for all issues, thereby reducing the listing time from T+12 to T+6.
Sebi also directed listed entities to disclose the cumulative impact of all the audit qualifications on relevant financial items in a separate form along with the annual audited financial results filed in terms of Listing Regulations.
The regulator also directed the top 500 listed entities by market capitalisation to formulate and make public a dividend distribution policy in order to help investors make an informed investment decision and identify stocks that match their investment objectives.
Sebi also laid down a framework for issuance of debt securities on private placement basis through an electronic book mechanism, in order to streamline procedures for issuance of debt securities on private placement basis and enhance transparency to discover prices.
In a major decision amid a huge bad loan problem in the country, Sebi prohibited ‘wilful defaulters’ from raising capital through public issue, from taking control over listed companies and from becoming market intermediaries, among other restrictions. .