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Sub-brokers in the stock market are likely to be exempted from the requirement of registering with the capital market regulator before starting their operations as per a proposal under consideration of the finance ministry and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).  The move is to promote self-regulation through an industry body under the supervision of SEBI, said an official who asked not to be named. Other than registration, all other market operations will, however, be directly regulated by SEBI, he said.
The proposal is also in line with the recommendations made on Wednesday by the committee on investor awareness and protection chaired by Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) chairman D Swarup. The panel suggested a self-regulatory organisation (SRO) to be called the Financial Well-Being Board of India for all investment advisors cutting across products, regulators and markets.

The proposed body will also ensure that a set of common standards are followed by all investment advisors.

There are about 50,000 sub-brokers now and the number is growing, making it difficult for SEBI to dedicate time and resources for something that could be done at the industry level. “The first level of due diligence of sub-brokers can be done by an SRO, under SEBI’s supervision, ” said the official. That is, assessing the eligibility, qualifications and the statutory requirements for operating as a sub-broker will be done by the SRO.

The proposal indicates that the government’s plan to rely more on self-regulation by the industry stays so only under the statutory regulator’s supervision and only at the level of filtering new entrants. The global financial crisis had shown that excessive self-regulation may boomerang.

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