Mumbai: Capital markets regulator SEBI is planning to strengthen its manpower in a big way this year, with sharper focus on imparting the technical and behavioural training to staff at all levels.
SEBI employs 660 people including officers as well as the support-level staff. It feels however that there is an urgent need for hiring more professionals for discharging its duties of regulation and supervision of the markets so as to safeguard investors' interests.
"It is crucial that staff possess the knowledge, skills and competencies required for optimum performance," SEBI said in a recent memorandum to its board on its budget proposals for the current fiscal 2013-14.
SEBI said it had given "a fresh impetus to the area of training and development by imparting technical as well as behavioural training to the staff members at all levels" during the previous fiscal.
"This is a continuous process and will be pursued in the year 2013-14 also. It is also proposed to strengthen manpower through recruitment."
Sources said the regulator is also of the view that a significant increase in its headcount and armouring the staff with latest technical skills have become necessary in view of an increasingly proactive approach being undertaken by it in ring-fencing the markets against manipulative activities.
Besides, an imminent grant of greater powers to SEBI to check money-pooling frauds and other manipulative attempts also underscores the need for a larger workforce.
The government is considering some critical amendments to the securities laws of the country. That would involve SEBI being given direct powers for attachment of properties, search and seizure of assets and powers to seek information from any entity in relation to its probes against erring entities.
SEBI itself has proposed that powers should be given to it for overall regulation and oversight of all kinds of money- pooling activities and the definition of Collective Investment Schemes be expanded to include all kinds of public money collection of Rs 100 crore or more.
The recent developments involving an alleged defrauding of lakhs of investors by West Bengal-based Saradha group and other entities in the state have further underscored the need to change the regulations to give greater powers to SEBI.
Besides, SEBI has sharpened focus on opening a larger number of local offices in different parts of the country, requiring a larger staff.