Making Indian financial markets more competitive

Dec 21 2013, 05:32 IST
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SummaryThere is a need to resolve issues related to the currency derivative markets, bond markets and retail participation

I compliment all those who were behind the idea of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and who nurtured the NSE over the last 20 years.

Recent events have reminded us about the criticality of financial markets infrastructure institutions. These include exchanges, clearing houses, depositories, payments infrastructure, etc. These must be seen as extended parts of the regulatory apparatus because they perform a legislative function as they are authorised to write bye-laws and they also perform an executive function such as enforcing the bye-laws and detecting violations of regulations. So, while the Parliament is the ultimate regulator and the SEBI is the regulator of the capital market, I would like to once again emphasise that financial market infrastructure institutions also play a crucial role in regulation and discharging executive functions.

It is, therefore, important that all our institutions maintain the highest ethics and highest standards of probity. An ethics deficit can bring down the entire financial system as we have seen in the past. Some recent incidents have alerted us to the fact and we should never, never take that chance again. We must demand the highest amount of probity from the managers and owners of financial market infrastructure institutions.

I wish to take this opportunity to recall some of the reform initiatives concerning the capital markets taken recently. We have reduced transaction costs, incentivised listing on SME trading platforms, and encouraged the SEBI to play an active role in investor protection and awareness. Investment Advisors Regulation has been put in place. We have formulated a national strategy for financial education and we have repeatedly emphasised the role for foreign investment in the development of Indian markets.

Today, as we look back with pride on our achievements, we also need to look forward and contemplate our future growth agenda.

The capital markets still face various constraints which need to be addressed urgently, and the NSE, with its accumulated wisdom and experience, can help in strengthening the institutional edifice. One important concern is the loss of the onshore market for the rupee and the NIFTY. The volume of trading of the rupee in the NDF markets is said to be a multiple of volumes in official domestic exchanges. Considering the size and linkages that prevail between onshore spot and forward markets and the offshore NDF markets, and the likely challenges of launch of the rupee derivatives on major global exchanges, there is an urgent need to resolve

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