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MPW 2023: How Madhabi Puri Buch has made Sebi a trendsetter

MPW 2023: How Madhabi Puri Buch has made Sebi a trendsetter

Nearly two years after taking charge at Sebi, Madhabi Puri Buch, who made it to the Hall of Fame of BT’s Most Powerful Women in Business list this year, has pushed the regulator to become a trendsetter rather than following the West

Madhabi Puri Buch, 57, Chairperson, Sebi Madhabi Puri Buch, 57, Chairperson, Sebi

It has been a little less than two years since Madhabi Puri Buch moved to the corner office of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi). But it would not be an exaggeration to say that the markets regulator has grabbed more headlines in those two years than in many previous years combined. 

In March 2022, Buch not only became the first female chief of the markets watchdog but was also the first non-IAS person to head the regulatory body in two decades—G.N. Bajpai, the former chairman of LIC, was named Sebi chairman in April 2002. 

An alumna of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, Buch has been vastly helped by her previous stints in industry. 

Before joining Sebi in 2017—she was a Whole-time Member between April 2017 and October 2021—Buch worked with New Development Bank in Shanghai, Greater Pacific Capital, apart from her long innings with the ICICI group, where she was MD & CEO of ICICI Securities and also served as an Executive Director on the board of ICICI Bank. 

In keeping with those stints she has introduced new KRAs for Sebi staffers—completely unheard of in the government agency—to push them to engage more with the industry and make the regulator “developmental and facilitative”. 

KRAs, however, are just one of the many new concepts that she has introduced. Most whole-time members are now found making PowerPoint presentations at conferences and seminars—a huge change from the earlier days when they came with a prepared speech. 

Meanwhile, for Buch, no speech or presentation is complete without stressing on two points—data and technology—that, she says, have become the driving force for Sebi in terms of formulating any new law or amending an older one. 

Incidentally, some of that data analysis has been instrumental in the industry’s reviewing its practices to uphold investor interest. 

Her initiatives, like the proposed instant settlement, have ensured that the Indian market is increasingly becoming a trendsetter rather than following the more developed western markets. 


Published on: Dec 11, 2023, 4:43 PM IST
Posted by: Priya Raghuvanshi, Dec 11, 2023, 2:40 PM IST