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FMC merges with Sebi, to bolster commodities market regulations

Marking the first ever merger of two regulators, Forward Markets Commission on Monday merged with securities market watchdog Sebi that will help strengthen as well as streamline regulatory framework to curb manipulations in the commodities derivatives segment.

Besides, the amalgamation of over six-decade old FMC with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) would ensure that NSEL-like fiascoes are dealt with more effectively.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who formalised the merger today by ringing the customary bell, said the amalgamation would bring convergence of regulations in the commodities and equity derivatives markets.

“The merger will increase the economies of scope and scale as there are strong commonalities between all kinds of trading. I am sure that Sebi is prepared to regulate the commodity derivatives market,” he said.

“It would be a challenge for Sebi because this is an additional responsibility, but Sebi has matured over last two decades to take on (such responsibilities),” Jaitley noted.

Sebi Chairman U K Sinha said the first priority would be to develop confidence in the commodities market and then focus on development of the market by way of allowing participation by banks and foreign portfolio investors in this market.

“We will be very cautious so as to avoid making mistakes in commodities trading, focusing on how to improve movement of prices and strengthen human resources,” he said.

The Finance Minister said that markets thrive where there is confidence and integrity and this requires transparency and good regulations.

“Farmers, producers and consumers need to have confidence that derivatives market is free from manipulations and market abuses. I am sure that Sebi would be successfully able to handle additional responsibility entrusted to it,” he said.

Even though the merger has been on the cards for 12 years, the move was expedited in the wake of the Rs 5,700-crore payment crisis at NSEL that affected many investors.

FMC came into existence in 1953 while Sebi was set up as a non-statutory body for regulating the securities markets in 1988 and became an autonomous body in 1992.

To ensure that there is no disruption, Sinha said the commodities market entities would get a timeframe of up to one year to adjust as they would have to follow the same norms that are applicable to their peers in the equity segment.

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