Letter to BS: Sebi could do well with the power to intercept calls

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi)-appointed expert panel chaired by TK Viswanathan has given a report on fair market conduct and of reviewing the key securities market laws. Constant vigil is the price of trust and stability of any market and its trade. Insider trading is as old as modern markets and regulators have tried to keep pace by honing tools. The US regulators used stock market whistle-blowers with notable success. Rewards of up to 30 per cent resulted in huge recoveries. More importantly, it helps nab big stock market ponzi schemes that targets a chunk of the middle-class in their early stages. The flagship US-64 scheme was done through insider trading to help corporates to walk away with redemptions of Rs 40 billion in early 2001; the common investor lost heavily, never to recover. A whistle-blower would have saved both the scheme and the investors. Protection to whistle-blowers needs to be far stronger to sustain this useful deterrent. Sebi could do well with the power to intercept calls.

R Narayanan  Navi Mumbai

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