Sebi unveils slew of reforms; PSUs to have 25 pc public holding

Capital markets regulator Sebi today cleared a slew of reforms including a proposal to hike public holding in all PSUs to a minimum 25 per cent besides new norms for research analysts and ESOPs given by listed firms.

Besides, Offer for Sale mechanism will be revamped to allow non promoters to use this route for selling shares and a provision of 10 per cent reservation will be provided to retail investors.

The decisions were taken at a board meeting of Sebi here and included many reform measures to boost primary markets.

The Sebi board has made it mandatory for all listed PSUs to have at least 25 per cent public shareholding within three years. The move is expected to help the government raise close to Rs 60,000 crore through sale of excess shares in 38 state-run firms.

Another proposal approved by the board today included easing of the Offer For Sale (OFS) norms wherein retail investors would be provided with 10 per cent reservation and sellers of shares may also give discounts to retail investors.

Besides, non-promoters with more than 10 per cent stake in the company would also be allowed to tap the OFS route

According to the new approved proposals, OFS would be made available for shareholders of top 200 companies based on market capitalisation.

OFS route was introduced in February 2012 as a fast-track mode for sale of shares by promoters. Since then more than 100 companies have sold shares through this mechanism to mop-up close to Rs 50,000 crore.

The Sebi board has also finalised elaborate norms for 'research analysts' to ward off any conflict of interest in their activities.

As part of its efforts to revive primary markets, Sebi has also relaxed restrictions on sale of bonus shares held by promoters or other investors during an Initial Public Offer of a company, even if these shares have been held for less than a year.

As per the existing regulations, shares that have been held for a period of less than a year are not eligible to be offered for sale in an IPO. This restriction applies to all classes of shares, including bonus shares or equity granted to existing shareholders on the basis of their prevailing stake.

Besides, Sebi announced new set of norms to govern Employee Stock Options (ESOP) Schemes.

The board also approved sharing of KYC (Know your Client) information with entities regulated by other financial sector watchdogs.

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