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FM moots common regulator

By BS Markets Bureau in Mumbai
October 30, 2004 12:23 IST
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Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram wants the financial services industry to become a global player just as the domestic trade, manufacturing industry and software sectors.

Chidambaram, at a function to mark the National Stock Exchange's 10th anniversary in Mumbai, reiterated that pension reforms are a priority and a separate regulator for insurance will be formed soon.

The finance minister stressed on the convergence of commodities and equities market, and suggested a common regulator for both markets. Chidambaram said there is a need for fair, open and transparent markets, with high levels of efficiencies.

"This will enthuse savers to become investors," he said, adding that the government was committed to demutualisation and corporatisation of the stock exchanges.

Indian companies must tap the international markets and extend the basket of services being offered as of now such as software, back-offices, call centres and research, which are being outsourced to India.  He said that, in fact, the entire securities operations of global corporations could be outsourced to India.

Chidambaram was speaking after he had joined the almost 600-odd NSE members and guests in spontaneous applause after NSE chairman M Damadoran expressed hopes of the minister brining good news for the markets.

The finance minister did not disappoint the NSE and its members, congratulating them on its successes, and churning out numbers to support it.

But that was all the good news that Chidambaram had for the market. He congratulated the NSE for becoming the third largest exchange in the world in terms of number of trades and said that it was a convergence of technology, human resource and management that has helped it achieve this.

"This is a success story but not the end of the story. It is the beginning of a long journey," he added. Business Standard spoke to some NSE trading members after the function and most were enthused by the minister's call for going global but wished for some more sops to function in India.

The meeting with UTI Mutual Fund set the tone for P Chidambaram's day out in the financial capital of India. He was closeted with the top officials -- M Damodaran, three executive directors and the marketing head till nearly 10 am.

In his usual laconic fashion he dismissed waiting press persons - no Press please - and proceeded to his next venue, Dena Bank.

The finance minister's tryst with the National Stock Exchange building lasted for only a mere 15 minutes. He got a good look at the market watch system at the NSE as also the servers and the data centres.

He was accompanied by the NSE managing director Ravi Narain and its board of directors, Damodaran, Sebi chairman G N Bajpai among others.
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