What is SEBI?
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is an apex body for overall development and regulation of the securities market. It was set up on April 12, 1988. To start with, SEBI was set up as a non-statutory body. Later on it became a statutory body under the Securities Exchange Board of India Act, 1992. The Act entrusted SEBI with comprehensive powers over practically all the aspects of capital market operations.
Picture of SEBI Bhavan in Mumbai. Image Credits © Paul Noronha.
Role Functions of SEBI
The role or functions of SEBI are discussed below.
- To protect the interests of investors through proper education and guidance as regards their investment in securities. For this, SEBI has made rules and regulation to be followed by the financial intermediaries such as brokers, etc. SEBI looks after the complaints received from investors for fair settlement. It also issues booklets for the guidance and protection of small investors.
- To regulate and control the business on stock exchanges and other security markets. For this, SEBI keeps supervision on brokers. Registration of brokers and sub-brokers is made compulsory and they are expected to follow certain rules and regulations. Effective control is also maintained by SEBI on the working of stock exchanges.
- To make registration and to regulate the functioning of intermediaries such as stock brokers, sub-brokers, share transfer agents, merchant bankers and other intermediaries operating on the securities market. In addition, to provide suitable training to intermediaries. This function is useful for healthy atmosphere on the stock exchange and for the protection of small investors.
- To register and regulate the working of mutual funds including UTI (Unit Trust of India). SEBI has made rules and regulations to be followed by mutual funds. The purpose is to maintain effective supervision on their operations & avoid their unfair and anti-investor activities.
- To promote self-regulatory organization of intermediaries. SEBI is given wide statutory powers. However, self-regulation is better than external regulation. Here, the function of SEBI is to encourage intermediaries to form their professional associations and control undesirable activities of their members. SEBI can also use its powers when required for protection of small investors.
- To regulate mergers, takeovers and acquisitions of companies in order to protect the interest of investors. For this, SEBI has issued suitable guidelines so that such mergers and takeovers will not be at the cost of small investors.
- To prohibit fraudulent and unfair practices of intermediaries operating on securities markets. SEBI is not for interfering in the normal working of these intermediaries. Its function is to regulate and control their objectional practices which may harm the investors and healthy growth of capital market.
- To issue guidelines to companies regarding capital issues. Separate guidelines are prepared for first public issue of new companies, for public issue by existing listed companies and for first public issue by existing private companies. SEBI is expected to conduct research and publish information useful to all market players (i.e. all buyers and sellers).
- To conduct inspection, inquiries & audits of stock exchanges, intermediaries and self-regulating organizations and to take suitable remedial measures wherever necessary. This function is undertaken for orderly working of stock exchanges & intermediaries.
- To restrict insider trading activity through suitable measures. This function is useful for avoiding undesirable activities of brokers and securities scams.