Madhabi Puri Buch appointed as first woman chief of Sebi

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NEW DELHI: The government on Monday appointed Madhabi Puri Buch as the new Sebi chairman with an initial term of three years, making her the first woman to lead a financial regulatory body in the country.


Buch, a former executive of ICICI Bank, was a member of Sebi for nearly five years but was not given an extension when her term ended last October. Her return marks a return of a private sector professional at the market regulator, which was under the charge of civil servants with GN Bajpai, a former LIC chairman, being the sole exception.
 
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It also signals that the Ajay Tyagi, who was eligible for a fresh term for a little under two years, may have been denied an extension or reappointment due to the recent revelations regarding National Stock Exchange, where market regulator is seen to have not used all the instruments available at its disposal.
While Buch has herself been a Sebi member and RBI has had several women deputy governors, none of them had gone on to head the agencies, including the insurance or pensions regulators.
The former banker grew up in Delhi, finishing high school at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, before earning a bachelor’s degree from St Stephen’s College. She then headed to IIM Ahmedabad and joined ICICI as a project finance analyst in Mumbai.
She spent a few years away from ICICI, as a lecturer in the UK and at ORG-MARG before returning to ICICI Bank in 1997, where she took up multiple assignments, including being the head of their mortgage arm and was the executive director for consumer and corporate banking before being the CEO of ICICI Securities.
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In 2011, she moved Singapore and was subsequently independent director on the boards of several companies until her appointment as a whole-time member of Sebi in April 2017.
In her new role, her immediate challenge will be to restore the trust in Indian markets, which has been dented due to the controversy at NSE, the country’s largest exchange, while ensuring a smooth sailing for Life Insurance Corporation of India’s mega initial public offer, estimated to be around Rs 65,000 crore or more.
Besides, she will have to carry forward the reforms, with special focus on retail investors.

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