Investor empowerment, enforcement core focus areas: Sebi

Capital market regulator Sebi has identified investor empowerment, capacity building and further strengthening of enforcement and supervision actions as its core areas for focus in 2014-15.

The regulator will present its agenda for the new fiscal, which also includes programmes for investor awareness and education and expanding its reach to existing and new investors, at a board meeting later this week, a senior official said.

For the next fiscal, Sebi has broadly identified four core areas of new activities, he said. These steps are aimed at further increasing the depth of the domestic capital market and also to ring-fence investors from fraudulent activities.

These four categories include investor awareness and education, enlarging the reach amongst the investors and potential investors through regional and local offices, manpower requirement and capacity building, enforcement actions and further raising standards of supervision and enforcement in the marketplace.

Sebi has been particularly active on bolstering its enforcement standards to stave off illicit activities that impact the interest of investors, while it has adopted a policy to reach investors in every corner of the country.

With regard to manpower, a recent study by an external consultant recommended that Sebi should increase its headcount and increase the number of officers on supervision duties.

Sebi has also initiated regulatory action in a large number of cases related to collective investment scheme.

"The promulgation of Sebi ordinance also necessitated a number of actions on its part including those relating to enforcement and other related activities especially in the areas of collective investment schemes.

"These activities were new and meant deployment of huge resources -- both human and physical," the official said.

In the current financial year ending this month, the thrust of Sebi's activities has been on enhanced investor awareness, effective market surveillance and in ensuring integrity and fairness in conduct of market intermediaries.

Last year, Sebi completed 25 years and at a function to celebrate its silver jubilee Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that Sebi needs to "constantly upgrade and improve", especially in the wake of number of entities that it needs to regulate continues to go up.

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