Mumbai, February 27, 2017

Outgoing Sebi chief U K Sinha today said the regulator has been justly "harsh" with those threatening the integrity of capital markets and he doesn't feel shy about saying that.

Sinha, whose six-year tenure as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will end on March 1, also said that the main job of the regulator is to protect interest of investors and it prioritises that over market development.

The former IAS officer, who has been the second longest serving Sebi Chairman and had also served in the Finance Ministry during his bureaucratic career, said a major effort of Sebi has been to ensure "uniform treatment" for everyone and also promote competition.

Summing up various initiatives taken during his tenure, Sinha told reporters in his last press conference as Sebi Chairman that the regulator has worked hard on "cleansing of markets" and all potential instruments of manipulation, including defunct regional stock exchanges, have been closed down.

He said: "We have also been able to delist 345 listed companies and more than 2,000 companies have been brought to the dissemination board. So the idea is that if we see that there is some entity which could be a potential threat to the integrity of the market, we have acted very hard on it.

"I have read comments and I am aware that there are comments that Sebi has been very harsh in this period. Well we have been. I don't think we will feel shy about saying that.

"Wherever we have found there are aberrations, violations we have taken action. I am sure this has given comfort not only to domestic investors... but also FPIs."

Sinha, who will pass on the baton to senior IAS officer Ajay Tyagi as the next Sebi Chairman on March 1, said he is leaving Sebi with good memories.

Pitching for all market participants getting a fair and uniform treatment, Sinha said the regulator's main job is protect interest of investors and it will continue to do so.

"This has been a major effort on our part and while we have to be fair, everyone should get uniform treatment. We also believe there should be competition in the market.

"We have consciously encouraged market. We believe that fair amount of competition in the market and the regulations are in place then we will be able to avert many mishaps in the market. It has been our effort."

Sinha, who turns 65 next month, said the regulator is "very proud" that the SME platform has been successful and about 200 companies have been listed.

At the same time, 19 regional stock exchanges have been given an exit, Sinha said.

"I don't know whether we can call it achievement of Sebi but it is something worth taking note of that institutions where no trading was taking place, they were potential instruments for manipulations in the market or creating difficulties in the market.

"As many as 19 institutions were closed down and obviously we met with resistance and legal challenges but Sebi was able to win all these cases and these exchanges were closed," he said.

[The Economic Times]