U K Sinha will remain Sebi Chairman till March 1, 2017 with the government today extending his term by over a year.
The extension for Sinha, whose current term was to end on February 17, was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During his tenure, Sebi has implemented a number of reforms in the capital markets including regarding IPOs, mutual funds and corporate governance. Some of the key initiatives announced recently include a new regime for listing of startups, while Sebi has also launched a major crackdown on market manipulators including those misusing the stock exchange platform for tax evasion and money laundering.
Commodities markets regulator FMC was also recently merged into Sebi, while there have also been apprehensions that a change of guard at this time can be avoided given the sharp volatility in the capital markets globally.
“The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved re-appointment of U K Sinha, Chairman, Sebi with effect from February 18 up to March 1, 2017 or until further orders whichever is earlier,” a government notification said.
Sinha, a 1976 batch IAS officer of Bihar cadre, assumed office as the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman on February 18, 2011 when the previous UPA government was in the power.
While Sinha was initially appointed with a three-year term, he was later given a two-year extension as Chairman of the regulatory body.
The government in August last year had initiated the process for selecting Sinha’s successor at Sebi and a search panel, headed by Cabinet Secretary, was also constituted.
However, there could not be any consensus on the names suggested by the panel.
As per reports, the short-listed names included SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya, former FMC Chairman Ramesh Abhishek and Thomas Mathew who has earlier served as Joi
With his latest extension, U K Sinha will become the second-longest serving chief of Sebi after D R Mehta’s seven year term from 1995 to 2002.
While Sinha was initially appointed with a three-year term, he was later given a two-year extension. However, Sinha was eligible for a one-year extension as per his age.
As per the eligibility criteria, a person can hold the position of Sebi Chairman till the age of 65 years.
Before joining Sebi, the current Chairman Sinha was heading UTI Mutual Fund. Prior to that, he had served in Finance Ministry, among other positions, as an IAS officer.
During his tenure, Sebi has taken a number of steps to check manipulation and ensure safeguards of the investors and overall marketplace.
However, the most keenly watched developments during Sinha’s tenure has been grant of greater powers to Sebi and the action taken by the regulator against hundreds of ponzi schemes and lately against more than 1,000 individuals and companies suspected of tax evasion and laundering of black money through the stock exchange platform.
Sinha quit IAS in 2008 when he was holding the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India and was on deputation as Chairman and Managing Director with UTI Mutual Fund.
But after quitting civil service, he was given another five-year term as CMD, not as a government nominee, but as the choice of the stakeholders of UTI AMC. State Bank of India (SBI), Bank of Baroda (BOB), Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) are the promoters of UTI MF.
Sinha earlier held key positions in the Government of India, notably in the Ministry of Finance, where he was the Joint Secretary, looking after capital markets, external commercial borrowings, banking and currency and coins.
During his tenure at the ministry, he spearheaded several initiatives, such as banking and capital market reforms.
The government had in December last year reconstituted the search panel to include a representative from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The revamped panel, headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, included Additional Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Economic Affairs Secretary and three experts nominated by the central government.
In addition to the post of Chairman, the government is empowered to appoint five members on the board of this key regulatory body, which regulates stock exchanges, various kinds of market entities including brokers, mutual funds, FIIs, rating agencies and investment bankers, as also thousands of listed companies.