NSE’s listing may ‘take some time’

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MUMBAI The initial public offering of exchange operator NSE Ltd will “take some time” after the company disclosed potential instances of unfair access by some brokers to its servers, the new chairman of India’s capital markets regulator said on Wednesday.

Ajay Tyagi, who took over as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India on March 1, declined to provide specifics or a timeframe for when the IPO would be approved, during a news conference in Mumbai.

NSE, India’s biggest exchange, filed an application in late December for an IPO that bankers have estimated could raise as much as $1 billion, but SEBI has yet to give its approval.

The delay comes after the exchange also disclosed it had found certain employees may have been involved in providing high-frequency brokers with unfair first access to its so-called co-location servers, an issue SEBI has said it would examine.

“NSE itself also wants the other issue of co-location getting sorted out before they go for IPO. So, that will take some time to sort out,” Tyagi said after being asked when a decision would be made on NSE’s application for a listing.

Tyagi however said it would “soon take the decision” on whether to approve NSE’s nomination of Vikram Limaye, the chief executive of infrastructure lender IDFC Ltd, as the exchange’s next CEO. The exchange announced the appointment in February, but SEBI has yet to approve it.

Tyagi spoke to reporters at the conclusion of SEBI’s quarterly board meeting, his first as chairman.

Among the decisions taken on Wednesday, SEBI said non-resident Indians could not invest into offshore derivative instruments.

This is intended to ensure citizens living abroad are not routing money into India through derivatives such as participatory-notes, given regulators’ long-held suspicions that some of the money was part of unaccounted wealth held by Indians overseas.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Writing by Rafael Nam; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)

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