SEBI | Karvy denied the use of Power of Attorney for transfer of securities

Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI): Anant Barua, Whole Time Member, denied KSBL’s request to permit the continuation of Karvy Stock Broking Limited (KSBL) using the Power of Attorney (PoA) for the purpose of transfer of securities.

SEBI had passed an ad-interim order against the Power of Attorney. Following directions were issued by SEBI:

“(i) KSBL is prohibited from taking new clients in respect of its stockbroking activities;

(ii)  The Depositories i.e. NSDL and CDSL, in order to prevent further misuse of clients’ securities by KSBL, are hereby directed not to act upon any instructions given by KSBL in pursuance of power of attorney given to KSBL by its clients, with immediate effect;

(iii)  The Depositories shall monitor the movement of securities into and from the DP account of clients of KSBL as DP to ensure that clients’ operations are not affected;

(iv)The Depositories shall not allow the transfer of securities from DP account no. 11458979, named KARVY STOCK BROKING LTD (BSE) with immediate effect. The transfer of securities from DP account no. 11458979, named KARVY STOCK BROKING LTD (BSE) shall be permitted only to the respective beneficial owner who has paid in full against these securities, under supervision of NSE; and

(v) The Depositories and Stock Exchanges shall initiate appropriate disciplinary regulatory proceedings against the Noticee for misuse of clients’ funds and securities as per their respective bye-laws, rules and regulations;………….”

Letters were sent by KSBL to SEBI with respect to placing the request in order to permit the continuation of KSBL using the power of attorney (PoA) only for the limited purpose of the transfer of securities for settling the client’s pay-in obligations to the Stock Exchanges.

KSBL had filed an appeal before SAT, Mumbai and for the same SAT had passed the following order:

“…7. We accordingly dispose of this appeal at this stage with a direction to the WTM to consider the request of the appellant which has been made vide letters dated November 24, 25 and 26, 2019 and pass an appropriate order after giving an opportunity of hearing by December 02, 2019…..”

Analysis & Decision

SEBI on considering the facts and submissions stated that the interim order that was passed by SEBI was at the time when it was found that KSBL had misused the clients’ securities by misusing the PoA given to it by its clients.

Further, the Commission noted that the clients of stockbrokers are free to avail various modes for giving instructions to the brokers including through PoA.

“..As per the Business Rules of depositories, the mode of affecting transfer by book entry based on electronic instruction received from the client such as through Speed e facility eliminating the need to deliver the DIS in physical form. If any client seeks to give instruction in physical form, he may also do so by sending the DIS through fax to depository participant and the original DIS may be sent within three days of the fax. The client who seeks to send physical DIS, in addition to sending it by fax has the option to deliver the same at the offices of the broker of depository participant (DP)..”

Thus, the Commission noted that the enormity of the prima facie violations observed against the KSBL in the interim order, it would not be prudent to allow the use of PoA by KSBL given to it by its clients, as prayed by KSBL. The clients of KSBL who seek to sell securities through KSBL may do so by using electronic or physical DIS only. [Karvy Stock Broking Ltd., In Re, WTM/AB/SEBI/MIRSD/HO/36/2019, decided on 29-11-2019]

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