Sebi's investor call centre to start with 10 agents

“It is estimated that the helpline services would require 10 persons initially to provide the nation wide helpline service to Sebi,” the regulator said in an addendum to its tender inviting bids from agencies interested in setting up the call centre.

Besides complaints, the call centre would look into issues like trading accounts and complaint status, providing assistance in matters like transfer and transmission of shares, IPOs.

Besides, the call centre would also require to provide guidance on status of companies on whether they are unlisted, sick, vanished or delisted besides matters pertaining to other regulators that are not under Sebi’s purview. Sebi in the long run wants a minimum 500-seat operation capacity for one shift and a 1500-seat capacity for three-shift operations, with equal number of call centre agents. However, it needs an initial staff strength of 10 persons only.

The decision to outsource its investor helpline came within weeks of Sebi deciding to rope in third-party agencies for processing and maintenance of investor grievances. Sebi had taken a decision in this direction in March last week to resolve such grievances on a fast-track basis.

Complaints galore

Sebi received more than 32,300 investor complaints in 2009-10, while the numbers are even higher at over 39,600 in the first nine months of the current fiscal. Since Sebi’s inception, the total number of investor grievances has swelled to over 2.7 million.

Incidentally, Sebi is in the process of finalising a set of regulations for outsourcing of work by various market intermediaries such as brokers, mutual funds and investment bankers. The regulator is, however, said to be against outsourcing of the market entities’ core and investor-sensitive activities.

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