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Sebi perplexed by surge in Street's retail show

Mumbai: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is “perplexed” by the record high retail participation in Indian equities since the lockdown, said chairman Ajay Tyagi. In an interview — his first since he took charge as Sebi chief in March 2017 — the reticent former bureaucrat, whose term as the ninth chairman of the capital markets regulator ends next month, expressed concern over the sharp surge in retail activity in the stock market at a time when many have lost jobs or suffered salary cuts. Tyagi said Sebi is not in favour of allowing companies to combine their first and second-quarter results despite the economic disruptions on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.“If the earnings are allowed to be combined, then companies have time till mid-November to come out with results. That’s a fairly long period,” Tyagi told ET at the Sebi headquarters in Mumbai.In absence of the declared results, investors, financial analysts and media would attempt to come up with their own guesses about companies’ performances, which may be less reliable and potentially speculative information, he said.Responding to a query on investments by Chinese entities in Indian stock markets, Tyagi, 62, said the decision on beneficial ownership in case of foreign portfolio investments (FPIs) lies with the government. “The Centre has brought out changes in FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) relating to FDI from countries (with) which (we) share land boundaries. As far as FPIs are concerned, while there have been discussions in which Sebi was also involved, it is for the government to take a view.”Tyagi said the findings of the probe into the Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund fiasco will be out by the end of July but declined to comment further on the issue.He brushed aside concerns over talk of government interference in the workings of the regulator.