Even in Mumbai, many broking office employees could not reach their offices because of the ban on public transport, prompting demands that the markets be shut. “Our markets must be closed because our staff is being pulled out of offices and they are sealing office buildings. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants complete isolation of people and we are asking people to step out. Global regulators must be pressed to close markets till the situation returns to normal," said Deven Choksey, managing director of KR Choksey Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd.
The Association of National Exchanges Members of India (Anmi) wrote to the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) seeking inclusion of brokers and depository participants as essential services and to advise all state governments to issue clarifications in this regard.
The National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) late on Friday evening informed trading members that they could continue trading from their homes and any trading terminal till 30 April. “Exchange has received representations/enquiries from members regarding operation of trading terminals from locations other than those reported to the exchange, as a preventive measure, in view of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic," said NSE.
The exchange had prescribed checks to ensure systems run smoothly without manipulation. It asked for reporting from members about the terminals being used and who are using them. Anmi told Sebi that this takes care of only the front office, but workers needed for manning servers cannot operate from home.
“Finance minister and Sebi have permitted stock exchanges to function normally as part of essential services. However, staff serving back offices, servers and operational dependencies cannot entirely operate from home and it is imperative to declare stock broking services as ‘essential services’ exempted from the lockdown. While Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan have issued necessary circulars, we support Anmi’s request to Sebi to implement this across India," said Lav Chaturvedi, executive director and chief executive officer of Reliance Securities.