Sucheta Dalal :Good Times at the NSE
Sucheta Dalal

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Good Times at the NSE  

September 24, 2009


While global capital markets were ravaged by the financial crisis, things have worked extremely well for the National Stock Exchange’s (NSE’s) top brass. At its annual general meeting on 30th September, the bourse is set to re-anoint Ravi Narain as the managing director for a three-year term from April 2010. The meeting will also see Chitra Ramakrishna promoted to the post of joint managing director. Both the appointments will see a possible jump in their already huge remuneration. Ravi Narain’s gross pay last year was already a stunning Rs6.89 crore while Ms Ramakrishna earned a gross income of Rs4.21 crore. This makes Mr Narain and Ms Ramakrishna among the highest paid non-promoter executives in the country. In comparison, Madhu Kannan of the BSE draws Rs1.6 crore per annum, which is even less than the annual gross income of J Ravichandran, NSE’s director & company secretary. Some would correctly argue that this is quite in line with the huge difference in the turnover of the two exchanges. NSE’s shareholders must clearly be happy with its performance during a market debacle. Its turnover was down from Rs1,038 crore to Rs1,024 crore and profit after tax was marginally down to Rs515 crore, making it one of the most profitable businesses in the country, because its near monopoly allows it to function at incredibly high margins. Interestingly, despite its exciting growth, some directors do not seem to find its meetings worth attending. Three directors—Dr Rajiv B Lall (IDFC), Bhagyam Ramani and TS Vijayan (LIC) attended only one meeting in five; four others—Justice BN Srikrishna, Anand Mahindra, Anjan Barua and Lawrence Leibowitz— found time for only two meetings.

-- Sucheta Dalal