The National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) is the leading stock exchange of India, located in Mumbai. The NSE was established in 1992 as the first demutualized electronic exchange in the country. NSE was the first exchange in the country to provide a modern, fully automated screen-based electronic trading system which offered easy trading facility to the investors spread across the length and breadth of the country. Vikram Limaye is Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of NSE.
National Stock Exchange has a total market capitalization of more than US$2.27 trillion, making it the world’s 11th-largest stock exchange as of April 2018. NSE’s flagship index, the NIFTY 50, the 50 stock index is used extensively by investors in India and around the world as a barometer of the Indian capital markets. Nifty 50 index was launched in 1996 by the NSE. However, Vaidyanathan (2016) estimates that only about 4% of the Indian economy / GDP is actually derived from the stock exchanges in India.
Unlike countries like the United States where nearly 70% of the GDP is derived from larger companies and the corporate sector, the corporate sector in India accounts for only 12-14% of the national GDP (as of October 2016). Of these only 7,800 companies are listed of which only 4000 trade on the stock exchanges at BSE and NSE. Hence the stocks trading at the BSE and NSE account for only around 4% of the Indian economy, which derives most of its income related activity from the so-called unorganized sector and households.
Economic Times estimated that as of April 2018, 60 million (6 crore) retail investors had invested their savings in stocks in India, either through direct purchases of equities or through mutual funds. Earlier, the Bimal Jalan Committee report estimated that barely 1.3% of India’s population invested in the stock market, as compared to 27% in USA and 10% in China.
NSE is mainly set up in the early 1990s to bring in transparency in the markets. Instead of trading membership being confined to a group of brokers, NSE ensured that anyone who was qualified, experienced and met minimum financial requirements was allowed to trade. In this context, NSE was ahead of its times when it separated ownership and management in the exchange under SEBI’s supervision. The price information which could earlier be accessed only by a handful of people could now be seen by a client in a remote location with the same ease. The paper-based settlement was replaced by electronic depository-based accounts and settlement of trades was always done on time. One of the most critical changes was that a robust risk management system was set in place, so that settlement guarantees could protect investors against broker defaults.
NSE was set up by a group of leading Indian financial institutions at the behest of the government of India to bring transparency to the Indian capital market. Based on the recommendations laid out by the Pherwani committee, NSE has been established with a diversified shareholding comprising domestic and global investors. The key domestic investors include Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Bank of India, IFCI Limited, IDFC Limited and Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited. And the key global investors are Gagil FDI Limited, GS Strategic Investments Limited, SAIF II SE Investments Mauritius Limited, Aranda Investments (Mauritius) Pte Limited and PI Opportunities Fund I.
The exchange was incorporated in 1992 as a tax-paying company and was recognized as a stock exchange in 1993 under the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956, when P. V. Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister of India and Manmohan Singh was the Finance Minister. NSE commenced operations in the Wholesale Debt Market (WDM) segment in June 1994. The capital market (equities) segment of the NSE commenced operations in November 1994, while operations in the derivatives segment commenced in June 2000. NSE offers trading, clearing and settlement services in equity, equity derivatives, debt, commodity derivatives and currency derivatives segments. It was the first exchange in India to introduce electronic trading facility thus connecting together the investor base of the entire country. NSE has 2500 VSATs and 3000 leased lines spread over more than 2000 cities across India.
NSE was also instrumental in creating the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) which allows investors to securely hold and transfer their shares and bonds electronically. It also allows investors to hold and trade in as few as one share or bond. This not only made holding financial instruments convenient but more importantly, eliminated the need for paper certificates and greatly reduced the incidents of forged or fake certificates and fraudulent transactions that had plagued the Indian stock market. The NSDL’s security, combined with the transparency, lower transaction prices and efficiency that NSE offered, greatly increased the attractiveness of the Indian stock market to domestic and international investors.
Role of SEBI
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992.
Initially SEBI was a non statutory body without any statutory power. However, in 1992, the SEBI was given additional statutory power by the Government of India through an amendment to the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992. In April 1988 the SEBI was constituted as the regulator of capital markets in India under a resolution of the Government of India.
Its main objective was to promote orderly and healthy growth of securities and to provide protection to the investors.
The main objective is to create such an environment which facilitates efficient mobilization and allocation of resources through the securities market. This environment consists of rules and regulations, policy framework, practices and infrastructures to meet the needs of three groups which mainly constitute the market i.e. issuers of securities (companies), the investors and the market intermediaries.
(i) To the Issuers
SEBI aims to provide a market place to the issuers where they can confidently look forward to raise the required amount of funds in an easy and efficient manner.
(ii) To the Investors
SEBI aims to protect the right and interest of the investors by providing adequate, accurate and authentic information on a regular basis.
(iii) To the Intermediaries
In order to enable the intermediaries to provide better service to the investors and the issuers, SEBI provides a competitive, professionalized and expanding market to them having adequate and efficient infrastructure.