InvestorQ : Do you see Ashisk Chauhan as the right man for the top job at NSE at the current juncture?
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Do you see Ashisk Chauhan as the right man for the top job at NSE at the current juncture?

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Deepa Salunkhe answered.
3 weeks ago
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Let me clarify that the SEBI has cleared Ashish Chauhan for the post of MD and CEO of the NSE, but the decision is to be still ratified by the shareholders of NSE. That is normally more of a formality. The former MD and CEO, Vikram Limaye, demitted office on Saturday after complting five years. Limaye was eligible to offer his candidature for a 5 year term but however he chose not to apply for a renewal of the term. Ashish Chauhan has just completed 10 years as the MD and CEO of the BSE.

Ashish Chauhan will take over at a difficult time for the stock exchange. Vikram Limaye took charge of NSE in 2017 when the stock exchange was in a state of flux in the light of the algo and dark fibre case. Many of the big guns of the exchange like Ravi Narain and Chitra Ramakrishnan had the needle of suspicion pointing at them. While Vikram Limaye has been instrumental in reviving the image of NSE and taking it closer to an IPO, the algo case is likely to be a long drawn, especially considering that it entails market integrity.

Having said that, Chauhan has formidable credentials for the top job at NSE. An alumnus of IIT and IIM, Ashish Chauhan took over from Madhu Kannan and helped the BSE become the world's fastest exchange with 6 microseconds response time. Under the leadership of Ashish Chauhan, BSE not only completed its IPO but also got into new revenue streams like currency, commodities and equity derivatives as well as nurtured the ecosystem for SMEs, start-ups, mutual funds and insurance distribution. So, he does come with a reputation.

Ashish Chauhan is no stranger to NSE. In fact, Ashish was part of the core team that moved from IDBI Bank to set up NSE. Ashish had worked for NSE between 1992 and 2000 and during this sting he not only set up India’s first fully automated screen-based trading system but also its first commercial satellite communications network. When F&O was launched in 2001, Ashish Chauhan was a major driver of the derivatives segment on the NSE. Today, F&O contributes a lion’s share to the daily volumes on the NSE.

With the overhang of the algo scam still on, Chauhan will have his task cut out. He must primarily focus on fair and ethical governance practices at the NSE. That is likely to pave the way for the proposed IPO, where SEBI has held back its approval. Apparently, NSE had given preferential access to a handful of brokers. These brokers gamed the system to gain priority access to trade execution. Dusting off this overhang will be the biggest challeng for Ashish Chauhan, once his name is also approved by the shareholders.

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