The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has formed a working group that will advise the regulator on creating social stock exchanges (SSE), an initiative proposed by the government in the Union Budget in July.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in the budget, proposed a slew of measures pertaining to India’s capital markets including one that would enable listing of social sector enterprises on the stock exchanges.
The government aims to create an electronic fundraising platform – an SSE – under the capital markets regulator to help list social enterprises and voluntary organisations.
SEBI said in a statement on Thursday that the 15-member panel is headed by SBI Foundation director Ishaat Hussain, who was previously the director (finance) at salt-to-software conglomerate Tata Sons Ltd.
The committee includes Bain Capital managing director Amit Chandra, who is also involved in philanthropic work, and Aavishkaar Group’s founder and chairman Vineet Rai from India’s private equity and venture capital industry.
Manipal Global Education’s TV Mohandas Pai, Omidyar Network India’s managing director Rupa Kudva and BAIF Development Research Foundation president Girish Sohani are among the other members.
The panel also has three representatives from SEBI, one each from the BSE and NSE, and four government (state and central) representatives.
The working group will examine and make recommendations about possible structures and mechanisms, within the securities market domain, to facilitate raising of funds by social enterprises and voluntary organisations, SEBI said.
According to Kapil Khandelwal, managing partner at Toro Finserve LLP (sponsor to India Healthcare Opportunities Fund) and director at EquNev Capital Pvt. Ltd, there have been hectic consultations with SEBI on the formulation of the regulations after the finance minister announced the plan to establish an SSE in India.
The SSEs exist in countries such as the US, the UK, Canada, Singapore, Brazil, South Africa and Kenya. These exchanges are new-age platforms designed to connect “businesses that deliver social and environmental value” with investors seeking both a social and a financial return.
On the one hand, the SSEs are tasked with protecting the social mission of listed issuers, which is directly tied to protecting the interests of the beneficiaries who are serviced by the issuer. On the other, the SSEs are tasked with protecting investors who will only invest if they trust the market and the information they receive about issuers’ social and financial performance, Khandelwal explained in an article for VCCircle.