The government will kick off the search for next Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman later this month. The tenure of current incumbent UK Sinha ends on March 1, 2017.
An advertisement will be shortly put out to seek applications from prospective candidates, an official said. The appointment will be made by the government on recommendation of a search-cum-selection committee headed by the cabinet secretary. The committee is also free to identify and recommend any other person, on the basis of merit, who has not applied for the post.
The buzz in the corridors of the power is that economic affairs secretary Shaktikanta Das might be considered for the post as well. As per rules, the process for selecting a new chairman begins six months ahead of the retirement of the incumbent.
Sinha’s six-year tenure (initially appointed for three years, he got a two-year extension later and re-appointed for one more year) is scheduled to end on March 1 next year. Sinha is the second longest-serving chief of Sebi in its 27 years of history after DR Mehta’s term of seven years between February 21, 1995 and February 20, 2002.
The Centre had reappointed Sinha for one more year in February this year just days ahead of his tenure was to end, as it could not make up its mind on the candidates who had applied for the post in response to its advertisement. As per the rules, Sebi chairman is appointed for a five-year term or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The person is also eligible for reappointment. Sinha would be 65 by March next year.
In response to the finance ministry’s advertisement in August 2015, 54 candidates had applied for the Sebi chairman’s post, including serving and former bureaucrats as well as from the private sector. The prominent applicants included Competition Commission member (a former Sebi whole-time member) MS Sahoo and former economic affairs secretary Arvind Mayaram.
Some analysts say Sebi could become a super regulator after merger of financial sector regulators (except the Reserve Bank of India) to become Unified Financial Agency as per the recommendations of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission. The first merger has already taken place under the watch of Sinha in September last year, that of Forward Markets Commission with Sebi.