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Sebi plans to commence investor call centre with 10 agents
May, 18th 2011

Market regulator Sebi, which receives well over 100 investor complaints a day, plans to initially have about 10 agents at its proposed call centre to be managed by an outside agency to redress such grievances.

"It is estimated that the helpline services would require 10 persons initially to provide the nation wide helpline service to Sebi," the regulator said in an addendum to its tender inviting bids from agencies interested in setting up the call centre.

Sebi floated the tender early this month as it plans to outsource its investor helpline service to a third-party call centre. Besides complaints, the call centre would attend investor calls on issues like trading accounts and complaint status.

It will also provide assistance in matters like transfer and transmission of shares, IPOs, etc.

Besides, the call centre would also require to provide guidance on status of companies on whether they are unlisted, sick, vanished or delisted besides matters pertaining to other regulators that are not under the Sebi purview.

In the long run, Sebi wants a minimum 500-seat operation capacity for one shift and a 1,500-seat capacity for three-shift operations, with equal number of call centre agents.

However, it needs an initial staff strength of 10 persons only.

The decision to outsource its investor helpline came within weeks of Sebi deciding to rope in third-party agencies for processing and maintenance of investor grievances.

Faced with the Herculean task of handling thousands of investor complaints, Sebi had taken a decision in this direction in March last week to resolve such grievances on a fast-track basis.

Sebi received more than 32,300 investor complaints in 2009-10, while the numbers are even higher at over 39,600 in the first nine months of the current fiscal. Since Sebi's inception, the total number of investor grievances has swelled to over 2.7 million.

Incidentally, Sebi is in the process of finalising a set of regulations for outsourcing of work by various market intermediaries such as brokers, mutual funds and investment bankers.

The regulator is, however, said to be against outsourcing of the market entities' core and investor-sensitive activities.

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