Working hard to save small investors from ponzi schemes: Sebi

Working hard to save small investors from ponzi schemes: Sebi

 Amid lakhs of investors believed to have been defrauded by Ponzi schemes in West Bengal, Sebi Chairman U K sinha today said the regulator is working hard to ensure that small investors' savings are not put to risk.

"Within the powers given to us, Sebi is working extremely hard to ensure that savings of small investors are not put to risk," Sinha said.
He, however, said that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has some legal limitations and he would not be able to comment on specific issues concerning specific companies as there have been some court and quasi-judicial orders as well in certain cases.

"I'll however like to assure you all that we are alive to the task given to us within our mandate," he added.

He was replying to queries about an alleged fraud by Kolkata-based Saradha group through its investment schemes.

Sinha was speaking at a public seminar here of Asia Pacific Region Committee of IOSCO, a global body of securities regulators from across the world of which Sebi is also a member.

The government is seriously considering strengthening of laws to regulate all kind of collective investment schemes (CIS), Sinha said.
Sebi has already passed an order against Saradha Realty India to close all its collective schemes and refund the money collected from investors within three months.

The capital market regulator has also barred Saradha Realty India and its Managing Director Sudipta Sen from the securities markets till the time it winds up all its CIS and refunds the entire money to investors.

When asked about regulating collective investment schemes, Sinha said there should be a single regulator in this regard.

"But the type of instances that have come to our notice... there is a case for strengthening. Our position is that ideally there should be one single regulator for entire collective investment scheme and all the schemes such as nidhi funds or schemes like chit funds," Sinha said.

Collective investment scheme as a subject for monitoring came under the Sebi ambit after amendment to the act, however there are several exemptions for schemes such as chit funds, nidhi funds, co-operatives, NBFCS.

The Sebi Chief said that they were exempted with a very on the idea was that those would be reporting at small level and there would be local level authorities who would be taking care of them.

"Let there be one single regulator. This regulator will have a very serious task at hand," Sinha said.

Meanwhile, in the interim the capital market regulator has suggested certain amendments to certain sections of the Sebi Act.

"For example whenever we impose penalties for some people those penalty, we find it extremely difficult to collect because the collection mechanism under Sebi Act is vastly different and inferior from the mechanism, for example, given under I-T Act of CCI Act," he added.

Sinha emphasised that his belief was that the government is seriously considering his suggestions.

"We should wait for the whole process to get completed," he said.
Regarding Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission's (FSLRC) recommendation of having a single regulator Sinha said that it was given after a lot of consideration.

"So let the debate continue. The government has to finally take a call on that and not Sebi," he noted.

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