Book Recommend: Banyan Tree to E-trading – SEBI An Agent of change (25 years of SEBI)…

Securities and Exchange Board of India or SEBI is undergoing a change in its leadership. Tamal Bandypoadhaya pays a nice tribute to the outgoing SEBI chief – Mr. UK Sinha.

It is coincidental that I stumbled on this book – Banyan Tree to E-trading – SEBI An Agent of change – just recently. The book was released on completion of SEBI’s  25 years in 2013 (1988-2013). Though, not a pure historical account the book still serves as a useful guide to evolution of stock markets in India followed by SEBI much later. It is more like a coffee table book as mentioned  by former FM P Chidambaram in the book. The book is published by SEBI and am not sure whether it is available on bookstores etc. SEBI could put it up as a PDF for download which will be really useful.

The book has amazing pictures drawn from variety of sources which tells you much more than several words. Right from the first banyan tree where equity trading started (more on this in a later post) to today’s screens, it pretty much captures the space.

SEBI comes in the picture much later but changes the game like no other. Interestingly, SEBI did not start in 1991 but in 1988.PM Rajeev Gandhi who held the finance portfolio as well, in his budget speech (1987-88) said:

The capital markets in India have shown tremendous growth in the last few years. Approvals for capital issues have exceeded Rs.5,000 crores in 1986-87. They were only about Rs.500 crores in 1980-81. For a healthy growth of capital markets, investors’ rights must be fully protected. Trading malpractices must be prevented. Government have decided to set up a separate Board for the regulation and orderly functioning of Stock Exchanges and the securities industry.

This led to formation of SEBI which started as a body under Ministry of Finance. It became a statutory body on 30-Jan-1992. This was soon followed by the huge Harshad Mehta crisis which transformed both SEBI and Indian capital markets like nothing else could. It is usually a crisis which makes one think through existing limitations and act on them. Though, there were multiple crisis like CRB scam, Ketan Parekh scam, UTI and so on which led to their own sets of learnings. The book is weak on these aspects.

Overall, a decent book which provides a glimpse of Indian equity markets. We clearly need more and more research on India’s equity markets especially from a historical angle..


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