Govt extends Sebi chairman Ajay Tyagi's term for another 18 months

Topics Ajay Tyagi | Sebi

Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi
Ajay Tyagi will continue to be the head of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for another 18 months after the Centre extended his term as Sebi chairman up to February 28, 2022.

“The appointments committee of the cabinet has approved the extension of term for a further period of 18 months with effect from September 1 upto February 28, 2022, or until further orders, whichever is earlier,” the finance ministry said in a notification on Wednesday.

This is the second extension for the 62-year-old Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Himachal Pradesh cadre. His first three-year term was to end on February 28. At the time, the government had given him a six-month extension till August 31.

Market observers say that both the extensions were critical given the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The latest extension will ensure continuity and give Tyagi a long rope to undertake key stock market reforms, they said.

Tyagi is known to have worked through the pandemic despite strict lockdowns in Mumbai, where Sebi is headquartered. The market regulator is credited with ensuring smooth functioning of the market this year despite unprecedented volatility, particularly in March when the markets crashed amid a global selloff.

It is learnt that the government cancelled the formal interviews to select Tyagi’s successor last month.

Tyagi took over as Sebi chief in 2017 for a three-year term. Tyagi’s extension was approved by the appointments committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Tyagi’s predecessor UK Sinha, who was initially appointed for a three-year term, was also given multiple extensions. He remained at the helm for six years from 2011 to 2017.

Sandeep Parekh, founder, Finsec Law Advisors, “Tyagi’s Sebi has been a great organisation, with a lot of competent senior people supporting his distinctive way of regulation. Whole time members Madhabi Buch and G Mahalingam have both been fiercely independent and highly competent to name two. He has been low-key and has high integrity and is known for policy making which is very data driven.”

Parekh said Tyagi’s weak point has been the initiation of too many enforcement proceedings, leading to delays.

Tyagi was instrumental in executing the new corporate governance code for mutual funds, aimed at improving transparency and bringing down cost. The regulator concluded several high profile cases under him.

The senior bureaucrat had also raised his voice against certain decisions of government such as transferring 75 per cent of surplus fund to the government kitty and on the proposal of amending minimum public shareholding norms.

He is known to be a quiet worker, who keeps a low profile. He also played a key role in merging Sebi with erstwhile commodity regulator Forward Markets Commission.

He was a joint secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, before joining the finance ministry in November 2014 as an additional secretary. During the time, he spearheaded foreign direct investment (FDI) reforms and measures.


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