For long, market participants have been used to a certain predictable pace that bureaucrats brought to the table as chiefs of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). With the government unexpectedly breaking the mold by appointing former financial-sector executive Madhabi Puri Buch as the new SEBI chairperson, Dala Street’s business-as-usual routine could see some rapid changes, requiring potentially difficult adjustments.
To be sure, Buch is no stranger to SEBI and market participants. As a whole-time member of the capital-markets watchdog for nearly five years to October 2021, she drove several changes in the mutual fund and stockbroking industries that are recognized to have made investing in debt schemes and stock trading safer. Senior industry officials, who interacted with Buch in her previous stint, said Buch’s working style was ‘numbers-driven’ through which she persuaded them to agree to changes in their respective sectors.
Is working in SEBI good?
A. Working with SEBI is a better experience for me. Office timing is 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM is a very manageable time and we have weekly 5 days working. Salary and other allowance are very good for me.
Madhabi Puri Buch strongly believes that numbers tell the tale, said a former Sebi member. Her love for numbers extends beyond work. Buch is said to be passionate about Sudoku puzzles.
Another industry official, who had interacted with her regularly, said meetings with Buch would often be a “lengthy affair” as she would encourage debates until the time everybody is on board with her thinking on the matter.
How can I get placed in SEBI?
A. Educational Qualification: SEBI Grade A Exam Eligibility. You should have a Master’s Degree in any discipline or bachelor’s degree in Law, bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from a recognized university or CA / CFA / CS / Cost Accountant (CWA).
In her new avatar as Sebi chief, the biggest challenge Buch could possibly face might involve dealing with multiple stakeholders, including the government and other regulators, to form a consensus on “sensitive” policy matters. In the past, Sebi and other regulators have not agreed on certain rules governing debt instruments. The advantage that a civil servant-turned-Sebi chief enjoyed in such circumstances is the thorough understanding of the ways of the bureaucracy and the status of being an ‘insider’.
The financial markets will, however, be familiar turf for Buch. A big believer in technology, she is likely to push through changes that would be aimed at making financial markets safer for investors. Mutual fund industry officials said Buch has shown a keen inclination to develop the corporate bond markets to ensure that a fiasco like Franklin Templeton does not repeat. She could also bring in some stricter regulations for the growing AIF (alternative investment funds) and PMS (portfolio management scheme) segments of asset managers.
For someone who believes that one should reinvent oneself every few years, the new role is likely to push the envelope.
Critics said Madhabi Puri Buch’s numeracy focus and unflinching faith in her convictions have had some unintended consequences during her previous stint as a whole-time member at the regulator. Sebi came under sharp criticism after mutual funds in March 2021 were asked to value perpetual bonds as 100-year instruments. The decision was made when Buch was in charge of the mutual fund portfolio at Sebi. The move did cause temporary panic in the bond market, prompting North Block to step in and ask for the removal of this rule. Sebi diluted some of the norms thereafter but stuck to its earlier stance that perpetual bonds could not be treated as short-term debt instruments, as done by mutual funds. Some in the mutual fund industry believed that Sebi was not wrong in its thinking on the issue but a ‘text-bookish execution’ of the rule could have been avoided.
A management graduate from IIM Ahmedabad, Buch’s longest stint in corporate India has been with the ICICI Group. Her last assignment with the bank was as the CEO of ICICI Securities between 2009 and 2011. After quitting ICICI, she moved to Singapore before returning to Mumbai as a whole-time member at Sebi. Senior finance sector officials said Buch’s return to Sebi as its boss was ‘surprising’ because of the criticism she faced in the latter part of her earlier tenure.
What is the salary of the Chairman of SEBI?
The present applicable SEBI scale of pay for Executive Director is ` 120500 – 3500 (2) – 127500 (3 years). The monthly gross emoluments at the beginning of the scale work out to ` 2,46,755/- (with Board provided accommodation) or ` 3,21,755/- (without accommodation).
How is the life of an SEBI Grade A officer?
The months with SEBI have flown by. Initial training at NISM was heaven, the location, the weather, and the facilities. We used to attend classes from 9 to 5 and then used to be in the clubhouse from 6 to 9. TT, badminton, gym, swimming pool, squash, indoor games, yoga, etc.. Even the classes mostly used to be interesting except for a few. Post that we were assigned departments in which we feel they tried to accommodate some people’s choices. All of us were posted in Mumbai only. Some of us chose SEBI whereas mostly looked for our own accommodation as the HRA is decent enough and most people wanted to stay nearby the office.