Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is a regulatory body of the Government of India. It controls the securities market. It was established on April 12, 1992 under the SEBI Act, 1992. SEBI is headquartered at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, India. It has regional offices in major cities of India such as New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Ahmedabad. These cover the North, South, East, and West regions of India. Besides, it has a network of local branch offices in prominent Indian cities.
Major part of the liberalisation process was the repeal of the Capital Issues (Control) Act, 1947, in May 1992. With this, Government’s control over issues of capital, pricing of the issues, fixing of premia and rates of interest on debentures etc. ceased, and the office which administered the Act was abolished: the market was allowed to allocate resources to competing uses.
However, to ensure effective regulation of the market, Securites and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 was enacted to establish SEBI with statutory powers for:
(a) Protecting the interests of investors in securities,
(b) Promoting the development of the securities market, and
(c) Regulating the securities market.
Its regulatory jurisdiction extends over companies listed on Stock Exchanges and companies intending to get their securities listed on any recognized stock exchange in the issuance of securities and transfer of securities, in addition to all intermediaries and persons associated with securities market. SEBI can specify the matters to be disclosed and the standards of disclosure required for the protection of investors in respect of issues; can issue directions to all intermediaries and other persons associated with the securities market in the interest of investors or of orderly development of the securities market; and can conduct enquiries, audits and inspection of all concerned and adjudicate offences under the Act. In short, it has been given necessary autonomy and authority to regulate and develop an orderly securities market. All the intermediaries and persons associated with securities market, viz., brokers and sub-brokers, underwriters, merchant bankers, bankers to the issue, share transfer agents and registrars to the issue, depositories, Participants, portfolio managers, debentures trustees, foreign institutional investors, custodians, venture capital funds, mutual funds, collective investments schemes, credit rating agencies, etc., shall be registered with SEBI and shall be governed by the SEBI Regulations pertaining to respective market intermediary.
SEBI plays an important role in regulating all the players operating in the Indian capital markets. It attempts to protect the interest of investors and aims at developing the capital markets by enforcing various rules and regulations.
Structure of SEBI
SEBI has a corporate framework comprising of various departments each managed by a department head. There are about 20+ departments under SEBI. Some of these departments are corporation finance, economic and policy analysis, debt and hybrid securities, enforcement, human resources, investment management, commodity derivatives market regulation, legal affairs, and more.
The hierarchical structure of SEBI consists of the following members:
- The chairman of SEBI is nominated by the Union Government of India.
- Two officers from the Union Finance Ministry will be a part of this structure.
- One member will be appointed from the Reserve Bank of India.
- Five other members will be nominated by the Union Government of India.
Functions of SEBI
- SEBI is primarily set up to protect the interests of investors in the securities market.
- It promotes the development of the securities market and regulates the business.
- SEBI provides a platform for stockbrokers, sub-brokers, portfolio managers, investment advisers, share transfer agents, bankers, merchant bankers, trustees of trust deeds, registrars, underwriters, and other associated people to register and regulate work.
- It regulates the operations of depositories, participants, custodians of securities, foreign portfolio investors, and credit rating agencies.
- It prohibits inner trades in securities, i.e. fraudulent and unfair trade practices related to the securities market.
- It ensures that investors are educated on the intermediaries of securities markets.
- It monitors substantial acquisitions of shares and take-over of companies.
- SEBI takes care of research and development to ensure the securities market is efficient at all times.
Authority and Power of SEBI
The SEBI board has three main powers:
1. Quasi-Judicial: SEBI has the authority to deliver judgements related to fraud and other unethical practices in terms of the securities market. This helps to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in the securities market.
2. Quasi-Executive: SEBI is empowered to implement the regulations and judgements made and to take legal action against the violators. It is also authorised to inspect Books of accounts and other documents if it comes across any violation of the regulations.
3. Quasi-Legislative: SEBI reserves the right to frame rules and regulations to protect the interests of the investors. Some of its regulations consist of insider trading regulations, listing obligation, and disclosure requirements. These have been formulated to keep malpractices at bay.
Despite the powers, the results of SEBI’s functions still have to go through the Securities Appellate Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India.
Registration of Intermediaries
The intermediaries and persons associated with securities market shall buy, sell or deal in securities after obtaining a certificate of registration from SEBI, as required by Section 12:
- Sub- broker,
- Share transfer agent,
- Banker to an issue,
- Trustee of trust deed,
- Registrar to an issue,
- Merchant banker,
- Portfolio manager,
- Investment adviser
- Custodian of securities,
- Foreign institutional investor,
- Credit rating agency,
- Collective investment schemes,
- Venture capital funds,
- Mutual fund, and
- Any other intermediary associated with the securities market.