Every competent lawmaker endeavours to leave behind a footprint. The Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (Sebi) U K Sinha is attempting that as he enters the third year as the head of the capital markets regulator. While predecessor C B Bhave changed the way mutual funds were sold, Sinha’s focus has been the primary market. After cracking down on many small companies and merchant bankers for manipulation in the initial public offering (IPO) process, the 60-year old Sebi chief is attempting to put processes in place to bring back retail investors into the primary market. Sinha, an Indian Administrative Service officer of the 1976 batch, has put the onus on merchant bankers to ensure better due diligence for companies looking to raise money through IPOs. While measures to curb volatility on listing day were rolled out, the Sebi chief introduced a rule to ensure guaranteed share allotment to small investors in IPOs. Merchant bankers agree some of these measures have partly discouraged companies with weak governance standards from the IPO way for fund-raising. But Sinha faces some stiff challenges this year, one of which is ensuring companies meet the minimum public shareholding norms before the June deadline. Implementation of the attachment order of the Sahara group’s assets will also be watched.
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