Here’s an excerpt from the book A Game Changer’s Memoir by ex-SEBI chief G.N.Bajpai. It recounts his truly inspiring journey as he weaved through complex rules and frameworks in his efforts to turn SEBI into an effective financial regulator for the country.
Highly admired for his outstanding credentials as the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) Chairman,
G.N. Bajpai was hastily appointed as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
during one of its most turbulent times between 2002 and 2005.
Here are 6 key elements of being a good leader:
Act with Courage and Enthusiasm
“I would champion the cause of investors and would pursue reforms and enforcement in a non-partisan way. Professionalism, honesty and industry would be my tools. I began my tenure with this single-minded approach. On no occasion during my tenure did I allow my reluctance to overwhelm my enthusiasm to contribute.”
Create a Supportive Team
“I believe every chief executive deserves to be adequately assisted by his office to help him monitor the functioning of the organization with the use of tools like management information system (MIS). The office must do the coordination work for creating the agenda for meetings, provide briefs on the matters placed before him and collect information on matters that visitors were expected to discuss, besides promoting the direction of the organization.”
Make Employees an Indelible Asset
“I knew there was an extremely genuine and serious challenge in front of me. It was to revamp SEBI’s image to that of an efficient, agile and independent regulator. And for that, I knew I had to concentrate on strengthening the cornerstone of the organization—its people.”
Be Open to Feedback
“We introduced a staff suggestion scheme to receive suggestions from our employees for improving the functioning of SEBI. This increased employee participation, ushering in a greater sense of commitment and responsibility among the staff in the running of the organization.”
Encourage Stability through Flexible Policies
“We approved the SEBI (Payment of Gratuity to Employees) Rules, 2003, to reward employees who had put in long service and to encourage in them a sense of belonging to the organization. The performance appraisal systems were revised to include key result areas, self-appraisal, competency assessment and two levels of review, with effect from January 2003. We also introduced market-linked house rent allowance to officers, as I took a conscious decision not to make SEBI an asset-heavy organization. Instead of buying flats for accommodation at prices which were then skyrocketing, we decided to pay HRA. This was a welcome decision, as this perk helped our officers take home loans and buy their own houses. In fact, even today this is said to have been one of the best decisions of benefit to SEBI officials.”
Never Lose Focus of the Target Market
“Stock markets are a meeting point for issuers of securities and investors, who in turn are linked by intermediaries. Each of these constituents is a prisoner of general human behaviour and has an inherent tendency to be self-aggrandizing—mostly in an ethical way, but given the opportunity, in unethical ways too. Unethical profiteering practices accentuate systemic and operational risks, lead to an undue advantage for some players and compromise investor protection, jeopardizing investor confidence in the efficacy of the market. It is here that the mission of SEBI to ‘regulate the market’ and ‘protect investor interests’ comes into play, to bring in order and ensure the efficacy of the market.”
To know more about G.N.Bajpai’s inspirational journey to play a substantial role in helping India emerge as a highly competitive, immensely lucrative and influential capital market, read A Game Changer’s Memoir.