Sebi faces staff crunch in legal dept

Shrimi Choudhary  |  Mumbai

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) plans a recruitment drive to stregnthen its legal department.

It is also open to hiring young legal professionals on a contract in entry and mid-level positions, and soon plans to issue an advertisement, said people in the know.

The markets regulator has seen several officers resigning after a few years, as there is huge demand for legal heads who have worked with Sebi.

Recently, Sumit Agarwal, 31, among key officers in the legal team, quit to set up his own entity, after nearly a decade in Sebi. Sandeep Parekh, R S Loona, Dharmishta Raval, P R Ramesh and Raghavendra Prasad are other names who’ve quit to either set up their own set-up or to join leading corporate law firms.

“The demand for legal professionals has surged by up to 40 per cent in two years. And, a lot of legal experts are setting up their own law firm, as many corporates now prefer to outsource legal work, instead of having an in-house team,” said Sunil Goel, Managing Director at GlobalHunt, a recruitment company.

Constant changes to the regulatory framework are also stoking demand. Earlier, only large companies used to have defined numbers of law firms but the scenario has changed.

“We have now e-commerce, start-ups, of which many are working on innovations in products and technologies. Such innovation also brought in complicated norms and that’s one reason why many youngsters with experience start offering their services in more competitive pricing. They earn more than working as a professional,” said Goel

This attrition at Sebi faces other government institutions as well. Retaining of talent is getting challenging, given the demand in the corporate sector, say recruiters.

“Government institutions need to ensure a continuous stream of fresh people join them. They also need to create a framework for lateral entry, where people come in for three to five years and then go back. As the labour market get more comparative and competitive for talent, the government will also have to think harder about them,” said Manish Sabharwal, co-founder and chairman of TeamLease Services.