CSIP Director Joins SEBI Technical Group on Social Stock Exchange

NEW DELHI: SEBI on Monday set up a technical group on Social Stock Exchange (SSE) to develop a framework for onboarding nonprofit organisations and for-profit enterprises as well as prescribe disclosure requirements on financials and governance. The group will also prescribe disclosure requirements relating to performance and dwell upon aspects related to social impact and social audit, SEBI said in a statement.

The regulator has constituted the technical group under the chairmanship of Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, former chairman of NABARD. Other members of the group include Ingrid Srinath, founder-director, Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy at Ashoka University; Pushpa Aman Singh, CEO of Guidestar; and Santhosh Jayaram, Partner and Head- Sustainability and CSR Advisory at KPMG. In addition, Roopa Kudva, Managing Director of Omidyar Network India (Social Impact Investor; part of Omidyar Group), Shaji Krishnan V, Deputy Managing Director of NABARD, Sanjeev Singhal, chairman of sustainability reporting standards board at ICAI, representatives of BSE, NSE and SEBI will be part of the technical group.

Earlier, a working group (WG) on the Social Stock Exchange (SSE), chaired by Ishaat Hussain, submitted its report on June 1, 2020. The working group has outlined its vision and made high-level recommendations, including the participation of nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and for-profit enterprises (FPEs) on social stock exchanges, subject to committing to minimum reporting requirements. Additionally, it recommended the standardisation of financial reporting by nonprofit organisations on such bourses.”In terms of the recommendations of the WG, there is a need to develop the framework for onboarding NPOs and FPEs on the SSE including defining for-profit social investing / enterprises, prescribe disclosure requirements relating to financials, governance, performance etc. and dwell upon aspects related to social impact, social audit, information repositories etc,” SEBI said.

To develop and make recommendations on these aspects, the regulator has constituted the technical group. The technical group may, if it so desires, seek consultation from other experts as special invitees, Securities and Exchange Board of India added. SSE is a novel concept in the country and such a bourse is meant to serve private and nonprofit sector providers by channeling greater capital to them.

Among the recommendations of the WG are the direct listing of nonprofit organisations through the issuance of bonds and a range of funding systems, including some of the existing mechanisms such as social venture funds under the Alternative Investment Funds. A new minimum reporting standard has also been proposed for organisations, which would raise funds under the SSE.

The SSE can be housed within the existing stock exchange such as the BSE and/or National Stock Exchange (NSE). This would help the SSE leverage the existing infrastructure and client relationships of the exchanges to onboard investors, donors, and social enterprises (for-profit and nonprofit), the WG said in its report.