What is SEBI?

What is SEBI?
Posted on 25-07-2023

What is SEBI?

SEBI, which stands for the Securities and Exchange Board of India, is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing and regulating the securities market in India. Established in 1988 as an autonomous statutory body, SEBI plays a crucial role in ensuring investor protection, promoting transparency, and maintaining the integrity of the Indian capital market. In this comprehensive overview, we will delve into the history, functions, structure, powers, and significant milestones of SEBI.

History of SEBI:

Prior to the establishment of SEBI, the Indian capital market was plagued with issues of malpractices, insider trading, and lack of investor confidence. To address these concerns and to bring about greater transparency and accountability, the Indian government took the initiative to create an independent regulatory body.

SEBI was established on April 12, 1988, as a non-statutory body, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Finance. It was given statutory powers through the SEBI Act in 1992, and since then, it has evolved into a key institution overseeing the Indian securities market.

Functions of SEBI:

  1. Regulation of Securities Market: SEBI is responsible for regulating the securities market in India, including stock exchanges, brokers, and other intermediaries. It formulates rules and regulations to ensure fair and transparent trading practices.

  2. Investor Protection: One of SEBI's primary functions is to protect the interests of investors. It aims to create a safe investment environment, prevent fraud, and enforce regulations to safeguard the rights of investors.

  3. Promotion of Fair Practices: SEBI promotes fair and ethical practices in the securities market. It takes actions against insider trading, market manipulation, and other unfair practices.

  4. Development of the Securities Market: SEBI takes initiatives to promote the growth and development of the securities market. It introduces new financial instruments, encourages innovation, and ensures a conducive environment for capital raising.

  5. Regulation of Intermediaries: SEBI regulates various market intermediaries, such as stockbrokers, depositories, portfolio managers, and mutual funds. It ensures that these intermediaries comply with the rules and operate in the best interests of investors.

  6. Surveillance and Enforcement: SEBI has robust surveillance and enforcement mechanisms to monitor market activities and detect potential violations of securities laws. It takes strict action against those found guilty of non-compliance.

Structure of SEBI:

SEBI operates as an autonomous body with a comprehensive governance structure. It is headed by a Chairman, who is appointed by the Central Government, and is supported by a team of Whole Time Members (WTMs), each responsible for specific functional areas.

The SEBI Act also mandates the establishment of several committees to advise and assist the Board in different areas. These committees include the Primary Market Advisory Committee (PMAC), Secondary Market Advisory Committee (SMAC), and Takeover Regulations Advisory Committee (TRAC), among others.

Powers of SEBI:

SEBI has been granted extensive powers through the SEBI Act, 1992, to regulate and control the securities market. Some of its key powers include:

  1. Legislative Authority: SEBI has the power to make regulations and guidelines for the securities market. These regulations are legally binding and must be followed by all market participants.

  2. Inspection and Investigation: SEBI can conduct inspections and investigations to monitor compliance with securities laws and to detect any irregularities or malpractices.

  3. Imposing Penalties: In case of violations, SEBI can impose penalties and fines on individuals and entities found guilty of non-compliance with securities regulations.

  4. Registration of Intermediaries: SEBI has the authority to grant registration to market intermediaries and revoke the same in case of any misconduct.

  5. Adjudicatory Powers: SEBI has its own adjudicating body, the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), which hears appeals against SEBI's decisions and orders.

Significant Milestones of SEBI:

  1. 1992: The SEBI Act, 1992, was enacted, providing statutory powers to SEBI and establishing it as an independent regulatory body.

  2. 1994: SEBI introduced regulations for the registration and functioning of mutual funds in India, leading to significant growth in the mutual fund industry.

  3. 1996: SEBI formulated the Disclosure and Investor Protection (DIP) Guidelines to safeguard investor interests during initial public offerings (IPOs) and public issues.

  4. 1997: SEBI set up the National Stock Exchange (NSE) as a technology-driven stock exchange, offering modern trading facilities.

  5. 2000: SEBI formulated the Listing Agreement, which sets out the obligations of companies listed on stock exchanges to ensure transparency and disclosure.

  6. 2009: SEBI introduced the electronic Initial Public Offer (e-IPO) system, facilitating a faster and more efficient IPO process.

  7. 2012: SEBI introduced the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) regulations to facilitate investments in real estate and infrastructure sectors.

  8. 2014: SEBI launched the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Complaints Redress System (SCORES), an online platform for investors to lodge complaints and seek redressal.


SEBI has emerged as a critical institution in India's financial landscape, ensuring the fair and transparent functioning of the securities market. Over the years, it has played a pivotal role in building investor confidence, promoting responsible financial practices, and safeguarding the interests of market participants. Through its continuous efforts in regulating the securities market, SEBI contributes significantly to India's economic growth and development. As the Indian economy evolves, SEBI continues to adapt its regulations and practices to address emerging challenges and foster a thriving and inclusive securities market.

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