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SEBI Uses Social Media to Probe Data Leaks, Says Chairman Ajay Tyagi

Securities and Exchange Board chairman Ajay Tyagi on Tuesday confirmed that the regulator has come to know of instances wherein price-sensitive financial data of reputed companies was leaked to right before the earnings were formally made public.

PTI

Updated:December 12, 2017, 9:25 PM IST
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SEBI Uses Social Media to Probe Data Leaks, Says Chairman Ajay Tyagi
Ajay Tyagi, chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). (Image: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade)
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Mumbai: Sending out a clear warning to market participants who play on rumours or leak market moving information, the Sebi has said they are "seriously" looking into complaints about some individuals allegedly circulating key financial details and other price-sensitive information on social media groups before they are made officially public.

Securities and Exchange Board chairman Ajay Tyagi confirmed that the regulator has come to know of instances wherein price-sensitive financial data of reputed companies which are publicly traded has been leaked right before the earnings were formally announced.

"We are taking that (WhatsApp leaks) very seriously. How come such messages about reputed companies which are publicly traded are leaked quite close to the financial results is something we are not going to sit quietly on," Tyagi told reporters on the sidelines of an investment banking summit in Mumbai on Tuesday.

When asked about what the largest bourse is doing to prevent such data leaks, NSE chief said the exchange is closing working with the regulator.

"We are working with Sebi. For anything to do with market surveillance and information on companies and compliance we work very closely with Sebi," NSE managing director and chief executive Vikram Limaye told reporters on the sidelines of the same event.

If there is any evidence surrounding what has been done towards dissemination of information ahead of earnings announcements, and if any Sebi investigation has to be done we'd provide data and assist the regulator, Limaye added.

As reported by PTI earlier, Sebi and the exchanges are examining trade details of over two dozen stocks as part of a probe into the alleged leak of key financial details through social media platform WhatsApp. The regulator is also considering seeking call data records of the persons involved. The companies include several blue-chips, according to Sebu officials.

Besides, Sebi is also considering seeking call data records (CDRs) of all the persons involved in the circulating such key financial details and other price-sensitive information about publicly traded companies on social media groups before they are made public.

The regulator has powers to seek call data records, excluding the exact content of the communication, from telecom service providers.

Sebi will also seek clarification from brokerages and listed firms if such individuals were found to be associated with them.
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