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Resolving Co-Location Issue First Priority, New NSE Chief Says

Vikram Limaye has taken over as the chief of the National Stock Exchange Ltd., nearly five months after his appointment as the market regulator delayed approval over concerns about his role as a cricket administrator.

Limaye, along with historian Ramachandra Guha, quit as members of the Committee of Administrators of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Supreme Court accepted their resignations last week. The Securities and Exchange Board of India had said that Limaye’s involvement with BCCI could result in a conflict of interest.

He will have a term of five years as the managing director and chief executive officer at the exchange, which has been without a full-time CEO since Chitra Ramkrishna quit in December last year.

Also Read: Supreme Court Accepts Vikram Limaye’s Resignation From BCCI Committee

Limaye takes over even as India’s largest stock exchange faces a probe by the market regulator following allegations that it provided preferential access to a few traders through its co-location service. It allows traders and brokers to place servers in the NSE building and connect directly to its trading systems. The probe has already delayed its Rs 10,000-crore initial public offering, for which it had filed its prospectus in December.

Resolving this long-pending issue is priority number one, Limaye told BloombergQuint in an interview.

Vikram Limaye, MD & CEO, NSE NSE has been in discussions with SEBI on how best to resolve the co-location issue. I’m hopeful that over the next few months we will be able to resolve this issue.

The exchange has proposed to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) that it may be easier to adopt the consent process for early resolution, he said, adding that conversations so far have been verbal, and a formal application is yet to be made. A consent process allows companies that are being investigated for purported wrongdoing to avoid litigation and settle matters by paying a fine.

Only once these regulatory issues are resolved will the exchange be able to move forward with its initial public offering.

“I don’t want to talk about timelines (for the IPO) because resolving the co-location issue is priority and I don’t want to second guess what it takes to resolve it, because it (depends on) SEBI’s process,” Limaye said.

The new CEO also said developing new offerings outside the equity markets is a core part of his mandate at the NSE. The exchange will have a key role to play in better intermediation of retail savings into market-linked products, he said.

Limaye, who was the CEO and MD at IDFC Ltd. since 2005, has over 25 years of experience of working with financial institutions, global investment banks, international commercial banks, and global accounting firms. He would be paid Rs 8 crore a year, according to a notice sent to NSE shareholders.

Also Read: SEBI Clears Vikram Limaye’s Appointment As NSE Chief