Govt appoints Madhabi Puri as Sebi chief

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ByJayshree P Upadhyay, Mumbai

The Securities and Exchange Board of India will no longer be headed by a chairman but a chairperson for the next three years.

This may appear as a small tweak in designation but speaks volumes of how far India has come in gender representation at key regulatory bodies and the road that is still left to travel.

Madhabi Puri Buch, as the tenth chief of the market regulator is the first woman and first one from the private sector to head the institution. None of the other regulatory bodies such as the Reserve Bank of India or insurance regulator has had a woman as head of the institution.

“Glass ceiling breaking whether it is in the private sector or public sector is always fantastic. Having someone from the private sector heading a regulatory body is another good step. Financial services in India have fared better on gender diversity and women representation as compared with other sectors and when compared with global counterparts,” said Radhika Gupta, CEO, Edelweiss Asset Management Company.

Shruti Rajan, partner, Trilegal says Buch’s appointment is a classic example of how one step can be a giant leap.

“She will perhaps be the first woman at the helm of a key Indian financial regulator and that’s an extraordinary feat. It is a heartening change in an industry where we’re seeing more women leaders on the rise, said Rajan.

She will be taking over from Ajay Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, who demitted office on 28 February Buch served as the whole-time member between April 2017 to October 2021. Bulk of her stint was spent handling regulations and policy for the mutual funds and funds industry.

“Her previous stint at Sebi saw a lot of policy changes in the asset management space. She also focused on prompt enforcement action, where needed,” said Rajan.

With inputs from Priyanka Gawande in Mumbai.

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