The government may extend the tenure of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman UK Sinha by 6-12 months as it continues to look for a suitable candidate, sources told FE.
Sinha’s five-year tenure (initially appointed for three years, he got a two-year extension later) is scheduled to end in February 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 government is not sure about the current candidates who have applied for the post. So, it may give Sinha some more time,” a source said. 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 64 by March, so he could get a maximum one year term if the government so decides.
In response to the finance ministry’s advertisement on August 24, 54 candidates had applied for the Sebi chairman’s post, including serving and ex-bureaucrats as well as from the private sector. The prominent applicants included Competition Commission member (a former Sebi whole-time member) MS Sahoo, disinvestment secretary Aradhana Johri, former economic affairs secretary (retired from government service) Arvind Mayaram and former capital markets joint secretary Thomas Mathew (now an additional secretary in the President’s office). Other names included former Forwrad Markets Commission chairman Ramesh Abhishek and current Sebi whole-time member Rajeev Kumar Agarwal. Former Reserve Bank deputy governor Subir Gokarn, who had also applied for the Sebi chairman’s post, was recently appointed by the government as an executive director in the International Monetary Fund.
After a preliminary scrutiny of the candidates, the government could not make up its mind on a suitable candidate to head the Sebi, which some say would 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, sources said. The first merger has already taken place under the watch of Sinha in September, that of FMC with Sebi.
The search-cum-selection committee headed by the cabinet secretary can recommend any person on the basis of merit, even if he has not applied for the post.