IDBI Bank chairman and managing director Yogesh Agarwal has emerged the frontrunner for the post of the chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
The finance ministry has shortlisted the 59-year-old banker, who is due to retire in June, from a panel of three names that was prepared following an interview by a committee. Road transport secretary Brahm Dutt and Small Scale Industry Dinesh Rai were also in the race, sources said.
The retirement age for public sector bank employees is 60 years. The PFRDA chairman can serve till the age of 65. Sources said the proposal was being sent to the appointments committee of cabinet.
The post has been lying vacant since D Swarup's term ended a month ago. Swarup was responsible for the launch of the new pension scheme for both government and non-government employees.
The PFRDA chairman is also a member of the high-level committee on capital markets.
The heads of other financial sector regulators -- the Reserve Bank of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority -- are former officers of the Indian Administrative Service.
During the last five years, all financial sector regulatory posts have gone to government officers. GN Bajpai, who was Sebi chairman from 2002 to 2005, was chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India before heading the capital market regulator.
Swarup was an Indian Audits and Accounts Service officer.
In the past, the Cabinet committee has selected candidates from outside the panel. Sebi chairman CB Bhave was selected in such a way.
Agarwal was also in race for the job of the RBI deputy governor, an assignment that went to KC Chakrabarty. He had lost to Om Prakash Bhatt for the post of State Bank of India's managing director. Bhatt later got a five-year term as SBI chairman.
Though Agarwal became the managing director, he was shifted as IDBI Bank chairman and managing director three years ago.
The government will also have to push for the appointment of senior executives at IDBI Bank if Agarwal's appointment comes through. The erstwhile development financial institution is doing with only one deputy managing director after Jitender Balakrishnan's retirement last year.
The other deputy managing director, OV Bundellu, is scheduled to retire at the end of February.