India market regulator tightens rules for exchange disruptions

FILE PHOTO: Logo of SEBI is seen on the facade of its head office building in Mumbai, India
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), India's market regulator, is seen on the facade of its head office building in Mumbai, India, July 13, 2015. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

March 22, 2021

By Abhirup Roy

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s market regulator said on Monday that stock exchanges and other market entities will need to switch quicker to backup sites to resume operations in case of disruptions like last month’s at the nation’s top bourse.

In a directive, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said when systems are disrupted, institutions must declare a “disaster” in 30 minutes and take steps – including activating a backup – in another 45 minutes.

The previous limit was four hours for that two-step process.

The new rules come after the National Stock Exchange (NSE) shut down for nearly four hours late last month due to a telecom glitch. The guidelines apply to stock exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories.

SEBI also said on Monday it had asked the NSE to identify those responsible for the failure within 21 days and to determine why it did not move to a backup swifter.

Brokers and traders criticised the NSE sharply for not communicating well enough during last month’s outage, which they said caused losses for some investors.

The outage was the second major one for the NSE in recent years after a five-hour shutdown in 2017 due to a software problem.

The NSE, which has previously said it acted in accordance with standard practices during last month’s halt, said in a statement on Monday that it had agreed with SEBI on the new protocols and timelines for disaster recovery sites.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Andrew Cawthorne)