Exercise of ESOP not insider trading: SEBI

Mumbai, Aug 24 (IANS) India’s securities market regulator on Monday clarified that the exercise of employee stock options (ESOP) is not considered insider trading under the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) board, which met here, clarified on the issue of exercise of options/applicability of contra-trade norms in light of the insider trading regulations.

In a statement, the SEBI said its board was apprised of the representations received from industry bodies/law firms and others on the subject matter and noted the guidance note under the insider trading regulations clarifies that exercise of ESOPs is not considered as “trading” for the purpose of the regulations, except provisions relating to disclosures.

“This will remove the difficulties of the designated persons with regard to exercise of ESOPs and the sale of shares so acquired,” it said.

The SEBI board also approved the removal of current restriction on the maximum number of anchor investors (currently 25) for anchor allocation of above Rs.250 crore public issue.

While the requirement of number of anchor investors for allocation of up to Rs.250 crore remains the same, in case of allocation beyond Rs.250 crore, there can be 10 additional investors for every additional allocation of Rs.250 crore, subject to minimum allotment of Rs.5 crore per anchor investor.

The SEBI board also decided to call for public comments on the recommendations of the Committee headed by K.V.Kamath on Clearing Corporations.

It also approved the draft amendment to the regulations to be notified on September 28 as the Forward Contracts Regulation Act, 1952 is proposed to be repealed, enabling the merger of Forward Market Commission with SEBI.

These regulations will enable functioning of the commodities derivatives market and its brokers under SEBI norms and integration of commodities derivatives and securities trading in an orderly manner.

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