MUMBAI The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said it will allow stock exchanges to list their own shares, paving the way for BSE Ltd and the National Stock Exchange (NSE) to conduct initial public offerings.

India’s stock exchanges have long sought regulatory approval nod to sell shares publicly. Lack of a formal process for stock exchange listing had made the task tougher.

BSE, whose stakeholders include Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGXL.SI), Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE) and billionaire George Soros, told Reuters last year it has been working with the regulator for an IPO since 2013.

NSE, which counts Tiger Global Holdings and Goldman Sachs as investors, has also in the past expressed interest in going public.

“This is an incredibly good news,” said Sohail Chand, managing director of Norvest Venture Partners, which owns a 2 percent stake in the exchange. “The investors have been clamouring for a listing for years now and we expect NSE to list in 2016.”

The SEBI said exchanges and depositories would need to meet a minimum public shareholding of 51 percent and also ensure shareholders were “fit and proper,” a criterion based on their financial solvency and police record.

The decision came after SEBI’s last board meeting of the year, in which the regulator also approved starting a public consultation for rules governing issuance of green bonds.

SEBI also said it is working on setting up an electronic platform for primary issuance of debt securities in a bid to boost market activity.

Reuters had reported in August that SEBI planned to overhaul the corporate debt market by pushing all issuance onto an electronic platform.

(Reporting by Himank Sharma, editing by Larry King)

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SEBI to allow stock exchanges to list own shares
| Reuters